False doctor Romand will remain behind bars. The court of application of sentences of Châteauroux, in the center of France, rejected the demand for freedom of Jean-Claude Romand, sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of his five closest relatives in 1993.
For 18 years, Romand made everyone believe that he was a senior official of the World Health Organization. He made a fictional life that defrauded, and ruined, his nearby circle. When he saw that the lie was falling apart, he killed his wife, his two children and their parents.
Jean-Claude Romand, 64, is a very real person and at the same time an almost novel character, protagonist of a contemporary classic of French literature, The adversary, by Emmanuel Carrère. His possible release in freedom, after spending 26 years in prison, was a news that went beyond the chronicle of events.
In September, it became known that he had asked for parole. The psychiatric reports indicated that he was able to reintegrate into society, as reported by several media. He even had a possible job that would help him in reintegration.
"The court of application of sentences of Châteauroux has considered that, in spite of a route of execution of satisfactory sentence, the elements of the presented project and its personality do not allow, in the current state of affairs, to guarantee a fair balance between respect of the interests of the society, the rights of the victims and the reinsertion of the convicted person, "said the prosecutor of the Republic in Châteauroux, Stéphanie Aouine, in a statement quoted by the agency France Presse.
The gloomy fascination that the Romand case arouses is explained by the ability of a man to keep an immense deception standing throughout his adulthood. Romand pretended to be a doctor and he was not. He made everyone believe – including his family, friends and lovers – that he worked at the WHO, where he was a prominent figure, when in fact he left the family home every morning, near the French-Swiss border, and spent the day aimlessly, driving on motorways or waiting in car parks to finish the workday. The pretense took him to the most intimate. Nobody knew that everything was an invention.
How he managed to keep the house of cards so long is one of the enigmas of the case. Romand promised his family and acquaintances investments in Switzerland. The money served to finance his life train. When some began to claim the funds and to suspect, it exploded.
Behind the screen of falsehoods there was nothing, nor anyone else but him. The vacuum. "A lie, usually, serves to cover a truth, something perhaps shameful, but real. His did not cover anything. Under the false doctor Romand there was not a real Jean-Claude Romand, "he wrote. Carrère in The adversary.
In prison, Romand approached religion. He was "a model detainee, lonely and surrounded by pious images", write the diary Libération. The article quotes one of the psychiatrists who treated him before his trial in 1996: "He seemed to have found a certain mystical redemption that helps him assume his guilt and the reality of the process." Now he has not managed to persuade the court that he was ready to leave. You have ten days to appeal the decision.