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Jean-Claude Romand, the story of a pathological liar

Jean-Claude Romand, the story of a pathological liar

November 20, 2023

90's. A quiet village in the south of France, Prèvessin-Moëns, and a case so shocking and chilling that even the specialists responsible for carrying out the psychological evaluations could not give an explanation . We talk about Jean-Claude Romand , better known as "the adversary", name with which the inspired book was published in his case.

Jean-Claude's life revolved around an intricate and complex system of lies . No one, not even his own family, knew who he really was, what he did or how he spent his day-to-day life ... and his family would never know, since in order to spare them the suffering of knowing that he had lied to them he ended up killing them all.

Brief biography of Jean-Claude Romand

Jean-Claude was born on February 11, 1954 in Lons-Le-Saunier, a small town near the Swiss border. In his infancy He was a lonely boy, with few friends and a withdrawn attitude .

An only child, from a very young age he lived with concern for the health of his mother, a sick woman, who was unaware of the illness he suffered, but who was overly worried about any unforeseen minimum, a fact that motivated him to hide his emotional states and to ask if it was appropriate to tell the truth if doing so caused distress.

Youth and admission to the Faculty of Medicine

In the academic field, he stood out for being an applied student, a boy who could be considered very formal and introverted, who was not fond of sports and who went through school without major inconveniences. Once finished the elementary education and the institute, decided to enroll in the medical university , career that went without problems until the second year, when he said that the day of the final Physiology exam, he did not hear the alarm clock and, for that reason, he did not go to take the exam, which was eliminatory. This fact marked a turning point in his life and was the first of his great lies.

After this episode, which also coincided with the refusal of his then partner, Florence, to continue their love relationship, Jean-Claude locked himself in his campus room , he stopped attending classes and devoted himself to reading newspapers and watching television, he got to gain 20 kilos due to lack of activity and junk food.

Last years of career, a stage full of lies

Subsequent years between 1975 and 1986, he continued to enroll in the second year of medical school, presenting false medical certificates with which he justified the lack of attendance at classes and exams. He got Florence to resume his relationship with him and established a daily routine in which he went every day to college without ever entering classes.

He changed his schedules to avoid coinciding with acquaintances who could discover him and he studied the subjects of the race to be able to converse with his companions without raising suspicion At times, she even helped Florence study the subjects that she, a pharmacy student, found difficult.

After this period he informed his family and friends that he had finished his medical career and had received a scholarship to work at WHO headquarters in Geneva, a few kilometers from the city where he lived. At that time, he was already married to Florence, they had married in 1984, and they had a daughter, Caroline, who had been born a year earlier in 1985. In 1987, the couple's second child, Antoine, was born.

Labor and sentimental life, a real scaffolding of falsehoods

The years after his supposed incorporation to the WHO took place within an apparent calm and normalcy, Jean-Claude went every day to work, he assured himself that he traveled constantly around the world for work reasons and when he returned home he made ostentatious displays of his research and conferences, although he always took care to give few details, claiming that the information was secret.

But what did he really do during the time he claimed to be working? The answer is that He spent his time roaming the roads and bars, walking through forests , to sleep in the car or read WHO pamphlets or books that he collected during a scientific session and, above all, he studied the maps of the cities he supposedly traveled to, in order to keep his lie.

How did he earn money to support the family?

Another big question that arose after exposing all his lies is how he managed to maintain his family financially, since he maintained a gentrified lifestyle that was financed by scams to family and friends. Mainly Developed two forms of fraud , one consisted in offering to his acquaintances a plan of investments with a high profitability taking advantage of his work in the WHO, in this way he got to swindle to his relatives up to two million and a half of francs and the other, was the sale of oncological medicines in alleged phase of experimentation, worth 15,000 francs each pill.

But nobody doubted the good of Jean-Claude, who had put on a social image of success and prestige and lived devoted to his work and his family.

The beginning of the end

Florence's father died in strange circumstances, falling down the stairs of the family barn, while having a conversation with Jean-Claude in which he asked for part of the money he had given his son-in-law to invest, but no one doubts the honesty of the supposed doctor who becomes the head of the family and in charge of ensuring the welfare of all.

In this age, Jean-Claude meets Corinne, the wife of an acquaintance , for which he begins to feel a great attraction and to which he intends to conquer. At first she rejects him, to which Jean-Claude responds with an attempted suicide followed by another big lie to hide it and a period of isolation at home, in which he expressed as in the university depressive behaviors. Finally, Corinne agrees to maintain a relationship with him. But to have this new relationship and add a new lie, it is becoming increasingly difficult ... Corinne, who has also been a victim of the investment fund scam, demands benefits, his wife, Florence, begins to suspect that something strange happens. ... and, for this reason, cornered, on January 9, 1993, Jean Claude Romand decided to end his double life.

Crime and attempted suicide

That day, she was summoned with Corinne, making her believe that they were going to dinner at the house of a major WHO collaborator, and halfway she tried to kill her, without success, since she managed to convince him not to do it. After leaving her back at home, Jean Claude, went to his own house and once there, he killed Florence first , hitting him on the head with a pastry roll. The next morning, while his children watched TV, he called them to come to his room and there he shot them both, who died on the spot.

After having killed his wife and children, Jean-Claude went to eat, as he did every week at his parents' house and once there he also killed his father, who was shot twice in the back and his mother, with one in the chest. After these new deaths he returned home, ingested a high amount of expired barbiturates, and He set fire to the house, with the idea of ​​dying too with his loved ones . Thing that did not happen.

When they saw the fire, the neighbors and friends of the family called the firemen, who managed to extinguish the fire and remove all the family members from the house, but unfortunately, they only found alive a dying Jean-Claude Romand, who was transferred to a hospital in a coma.

Police investigations

The first investigations were soon to begin and the bullets in the bodies of the minors and the blows in the head of Florence were discovered. They also found the corpses of Jean-Claude's parents, at which point everyone began to suspect a possible revenge against the Romand family ... but soon the truth was uncovered .

The investigations confirmed that Jean-Claude Romand was not working for the WHO and in his car was found a note in his own handwriting where he confessed the crimes perpetrated. In the end all his lies were discovered, no one in his circle of acquaintances could believe that the attentive and familiar Jean-Claude would have been able to commit such acts and lie about all aspects of his life. But the tests left no room for doubt. On the other hand, when the false doctor woke up from the coma, he confirmed the facts and said he had done it so that his relatives would not suffer when they knew his lies.

Psychological profile of the pathological liar

What happens in someone's mind to commit such an act? The four specialist psychologists who evaluated Jean-Claude Romand they had serious difficulties to diagnose it and the result was a Narcissistic Personality Disorder, based, above all, on the reasons given by himself to commit such crimes, but by evaluating in depth the facts and the pattern of behavior exposed by Jean-Claude, this disorder is easily disposable .

What is most striking about the behavior pattern of Jean-Claude Romand is the fact that his life revolved around a great lie, which only he knew, which made him a lonely and withdrawn person, who was not comfortable in social situations or being the center of attention.

It is also true that in his mythomania (pathological lie) Jean Claude had put on a certain prestige and authority, but it was not for the purpose of extolling his person, rather, he used this character as an instrumental means to avoid giving information to his relatives and friends about their work and their way of life.

After discarding the diagnosis made at that time by the professionals in charge of the case, it is up to the curiosity of each one to try to answer this curious case. I personally, after a passionate in-depth study of the facts and behavioral pattern of Jean-Claude Romand, I am inclined to think that his profile could very well fit into a Schizoid Personality Disorder concomitant with a persistent depressive disorder.

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