‘Dentist of horror’ goes on trial, charged with mutilating patients’ mouths

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Warning: If you suffer from an abnormal fear of dentists, read on with caution. This story won’t help.

A Dutchman dubbed by the media “the dentist of horror” has gone on trial in central France, accused of having mutilated the mouths of more than 100 patients.

Jacobus van Nierop, who is 51, is alleged to have ripped out healthy teeth and to have left dozens of patients with broken jaws, abscesses and septicemia. He is being tried in Nevers, 150 miles (240 kilometers) south of Paris.

Some of his alleged victims say they are so traumatized they are nervous about seeing him again — even though he’s in the dock.

“I think that everybody feel[s] anxious at the thought of seeing him, because it’s been three years since we last saw him, and he’s been on hunger strikes, etc. … So we’re not going to see the same person we saw in Chateau-Chinon,” said Nicole Martin, one of van Nierop’s accusers, referring to the town 40 miles away, where van Nierop practiced. “And now the question we ask ourselves is, is he going to be apathetic or will he be aggressive?”

‘Today, we have no explanations’

And Gerlandine Letot said she wound up needing more work after she saw van Nierop than before she went in.

“Today, out of 13 healthy teeth, apart from one cavity, two teeth have been removed. I need an implant and multiple crowns … things I didn’t need to start out with.”

Charles Joseph-Oudin, a lawyer for the alleged victims, said his clients are seeking an explanation for “how Mr. van Nierop could have acted in such a way for so long, how things could have become so bad.”

“Today, we have no explanations,” Joseph-Oudin said, “and understanding is the first step in the victims’ healing process.”