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Fake French doctor who killed his family after they discovered his double life to be released

A Frenchman who killed his parents, wife and children after pretending for two decades to be a successful doctor in a case that inspired a book and films, is to be released on parole, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Fake French doctor who killed his family after they discovered his double life to be released
Jean-Claude Romand at his trial in 1996. Photo: AFP

Jean-Claude Romand killed his parents, wife and two children in 1993 as they were about to learn about his double life.

Romand had spent nearly 20 years pretending he was a successful doctor and researcher working for the Geneva-based World Health Organization.

“Parole has been granted,” his lawyer Jean-Louis Abad told AFP. “His release is imminent but without doubt will not be today.”

French prosecutors confirmed the ruling by an appeals court in Bourges in central France, saying he should be out by June 28.

Romand, now 65, will be under electronic surveillance for two years and must live in an area approved by the judiciary. 

But a lawyer for the family of Romand's murdered wife Florence said it was a very difficult time for the relatives. 

“It is a huge disappointment for my clients and a cause of great pain. They feel that everything is over for Mr Romand but it will never end for them,” said Laure Moureu. 

Sentenced to life in jail in 1996, Romand has been eligible for release since 2015.

His case has been the subject of fascination in France, notably inspiring the book “L'adversaire” (The Adversary) by Emmanuel Carrere which was made into a film in 2002 by Nicole Garcia starring prominent French actor Daniel Auteuil.

The case also inspired the 2001 film “L'emploi du temps” by French director Laurent Cantet, which was very well received.

Romand hid his failure to qualify as a doctor from his family and instead claimed to be a high-ranking WHO researcher.

Threatened with exposure as creditors closed in, Romand, then aged 38, carried out the killings on January 9, 1993.

He murdered his wife with a rolling pin and then shot dead his daughter and son aged 7 and 5, before killing his parents.

He then went home and took barbiturates, setting his house on fire. But he was found alive, though unconscious, by the fire brigade.

Member comments

  1. This guy is extremely lucky to have lived and been tried in France. An Equivalant horrific case of family murder by another narcisstic indivildual occurred in Colarado USA last year. His name was Chris Watts and will remain in prison, quite rightly, for the rest of his life. All to be viewed on Youtube !

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LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

Snobs, beaches and drunks – 5 things this joke map teaches us about France

A popular joke 'map' of France has once again been widely shared on social media, sparking endless jokes at the expense of certain regions of France.

Snobs, beaches and drunks - 5 things this joke map teaches us about France
Image AFP/cartesfrance.fr
But while the map – created by cartesfrance.fr – is clearly intended to be comic, it teaches us some important points about France’s regional divides, local stereotypes and in-jokes.
 

 
 
 
Here are some of the key points.
 
1. Everyone hates Parisians
 
The map is purportedly France as seen through the eyes of Parisians, and contains a series of snobbish and rude generalisations about every part of France that is not maison (home) in the capital and its surroundings. The great majority of the country is labelled simply as paysans (peasants).
 
The general stereotype about Parisians is that they are snobs, rudely judging the rest of the country which they regard as backwards and full of ploucs (yokels) apart from small areas which make nice holiday destinations.
 
Like all sweeping generalisations, this is true of some people and very much not of others, but one of the few things that can unite people from all areas of France is how much they hate les parigots têtes de veaux (a colloquialism that very roughly translates as ‘asshole Parisians’)
 
 
2. Staycations rule
 
Even before Covid-related travel restrictions, holidaying within France was the norm for many French people.
 
As the map shows, Parisians regard the southern and western coastlines as simply plages (beaches) which they decamp to for at least a month in July or August. In the height of summer French cities tend to empty out (apart from tourists) as locals head to the seaside or the countryside.
 
 
In winter the Pyrenees and Alps are popular ski destinations.
 
3. Northerners like a drink
 
There is a very widespread stereotype, although not really backed up by evidence, that the people of Normandy, Brittany and the Nord area like a drink or two. Many suggest this is to cope with the weather, which does tend to be rainier than the rest of France (although has plenty of sunshine too).
 
 
Official health data doesn’t really back this up, as none of these areas show a significantly greater than average rate of daily drinkers, although Nord does hold the sad record for the highest rate of people dying from alcohol-related liver disease.
 
What’s certainly true is that Brittany and Normandy are cider country, with delicious locally-produced ciders on sale everywhere, well worth a try if you are visiting.
 
 
4. Poverty
 
The map labels the north eastern corner of France as simply pauvres – the poor.
 
The north east of the country was once France’s industrial and coal-mining heartland, and as traditional industries have declined there are indeed pockets of extreme poverty and high unemployment. The novel The End of Eddy, telling the story of novelist Edouard Louis’ childhood in a struggling small town near Amiens, lays out the social problems of such areas in stark detail.
 
However poverty is not just confined to one corner of France and the département that records the highest levels of deprivation is actually Seine-Saint-Denis in the Paris suburbs.
 
5. Southern prejudice
 
According to the map, those from the south are either branleurs (slackers) or menteurs (liars). 
 
This isn’t true, obviously, there are many lovely, hard-working and truthful people in southern France, but the persistent stereotype is that they are lazy – maybe because it’s too hot to do much work – and slightly shifty.
 
Even people who aren’t actually rude about southerners can be pretty patronising, as shown when south west native Jean Castex became the prime minister in summer 2020. 
 
Castex has a noticeable south west accent which sparked much comment from the Paris-based media and political classes, with comments ranging from the patronising – “I love his accent, I feel like I’m on holiday” – to the very patronising – “that accent is a bit rugby” (a reference to the fact that TV rugby commentators often come from France’s rugby heartlands in the south west).
 
 
In his first year as PM, Castex has undertaken a dizzying schedule of appointments around the four corners of France, so hopefully the lazy myth can now be put to bed.
 
And anyone tempted to take the piss out of his accent – glottophobie (accent prejudice) is now a crime in France.
 
For more maps that reflect France, head to cartesfrance.fr
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