A conman who claimed to be a globetrotting WHO doctor jailed for life when he killed his parents, wife and two kids to stop them finding out the truth about him is set to to be freed.
Fake Doctor Jean Romand, now aged 64, was jailed for life in 1996 and became eligible for parole in 2018. According to local media, he has just been granted parole and will be released from prison before June.
His story is one that shocked France and is remembered as one of the most elaborate cases of a person leading a double life.
The Frenchman caved his beautiful wife Florence’s skull in with a rolling pin, in the town of Prevessin-Moens in the Ain department on 9th January 1993.
He then sat down and watched ‘The Three Little Pigs’ with his 7-year-old daughter Caroline and his 5-year-old son Antoine before shooting them in the head with a gun.
The following day, he had lunch with his parents Aime and Anne-Marie at the family home in Clairvaux-les-Lacs in the Jura department and “after finishing his green beans”, he shot them both dead with a rifle before killing the family dog.
He then tried to murder his mistress, but she fought back and he gave up. He then tried to commit suicide by burning down his house after taking sleeping pills. He was apprehended on 11th January 1993 after being found in his burning house.
His motive was that he believed his loved ones were on the verge of rumbling that he was not the brilliant doctor working for the World Health Organisation that he was pretending to be. Romand, in fact, was a crook who had swindled his friends and family out of close to 400,000 EUR (345,000 GBP).
For nearly 20 years, he had developed an alter ego based on lies to cover up the fact that he had failed some crucial exams while studying medicine and had never become a qualified doctor.
He would buy his wife a silk scarf to help convince her that he had just got back from a conference in Japan, and he would use photographs from magazines and pass them off as ones that he had taken on his ‘business trips’.
Romand had in fact failed his second year of medicine at university and had retaken the year twelve times, pretending all along that his studies were continuing at a normal pace.
According to local media, he was able to confuse even professional doctors by simply keeping abreast of the scientific literature available in journals and magazines.
Meanwhile, he was conning his loved ones, his family in law and even his parents out of sizeable funds by promising them healthy returns on ‘investments’ he was supposedly making in Switzerland, all the while telling the taxman that he was a student.
Experts diagnosed him with narcissistic personality disorder, which involves having a lack of empathy and an exaggerated perception of himself.
After his arrest, his lawyer, Jacques Fremion, convinced him to admit his guilt, saying: “I saw him cry during our meetings in prison, overcome with guilt. But with a compulsive liar, one always wonders if one is dealing with someone playing a role.”
“He even played doctor with me in the prison visiting room. A compulsive liar is someone who cannot look themselves in the mirror and who puts their love for themselves above all else. To be unmasked is the worst thing for people like this….”