Jacobus van Nierop, dubbed the “dentist of horror,” is on trial for having allegedly mutilated more than 100 patients by taking out healthy teeth and causing horrific injuries including leaving his patients with broken jaws. The dentist is facing assault and fraud charges and is facing 10 years in jail if convicted.
The trial for Jacobus van Nierop began on Tuesday in France, and several of the patients who had been treated by the “dentist of horror” were in the courtroom, reports BBC on March 8. Tuesday’s description of what patients endured during their dental visits sent shocks through the courtroom.
According to one victim, when he went to the dentist to have a tooth removed, he was left with “pieces of flesh hanging everywhere.” Another patient, who visited the dentist because she needed to have her braces fitted, said that “he gave me seven or eight injections, and pulled out eight teeth in one go. I was gushing blood for three days.”
Another patient said that when she went to the dentist for a teeth cleaning, he simply filed them down. Some patients reported that their mouths bled for days after their dental visit.
Lawyer Charles-Joseph Oudin, who represents some of the victims of the “dentist of horror,” said during Tuesday’s trial that patients were given heavy anesthetic, had teeth removed for no reason, and were left with abscesses and infected gums.
According to the lawyer, many of the patients continued to bleed for days after their dental visit. Since the dentist also pulled out fillings just to replace them with something more expensive, the dentist is also facing insurance fraud.
Dutch dentist Jacobus van Nierop had come to the small village of Chateau-Chinon in France in 2008 and was at first cordially welcomed by the 2,100 locals who were grateful to finally have a dentist in town: They “seemed delighted by the hard-working and smiley dentist, a larger-than-life character who witnesses said was rarely seen without his ‘big 4×4, a big dog and a big cigar’.”
In early 2013, however, the group of patients who had been exposed to van Nierop’s “unique” way of practicing dentistry had grown to 120 patients. By June, an arrest warrant was issued by French authorities, and the dentist fled to a small town in the Canadian province of New Brunswick where he was eventually arrested under an international warrant.
During his arrest in Canada, Jacobus van Nierop told police that he fled France because “he was suffering from psychological problems and confusion about his sexual identity.”
After being first extradited to the Netherlands in September 2014, and then from the Netherlands to France the following January, the dentist was detained in France. Tuesday’s trial at the criminal court in Nevers, located 45 miles west of Château-Chinon, had gained widespread international attention.
In response to the accusations against the “dentist of horror,” his defense lawyer, Delphine Morin-Meneghel, stated that Jacobus van Nierop admitted that “he did not do good work,” but that “he was not the horrible person some people had described.”