Podcasts are creating a strange half-life for fake doctor and mass murderer Jean-Claude Romand


The theme of Easter is rebirth and I can’t help but notice the hideous sort of comeback that’s underway in the public memory for Jean-Claude Romand.

Romand is the Frenchman who killed his entire family – wife, two children, parents and their dog – having spent 18 years pretending to be a trained doctor who held a high-flying job at the WHO. He was sentenced to 26 years in prison, was released in 2019 to a Benedictine abbey and has since, seemingly disappeared from public view.

But not really. It was by chance that I came across an April 3 episode of the Loose Units podcast titled “Jean-Claude Romand”

There seem to be many other relatively recent podcasts out there, which are going over the life and crimes of Romand.

And just a couple weeks ago, James Marriott, deputy books editor of The Times, London, went on to Broadcasting House and recommended The Adversary as the book to read. It was, he said, not a novel but might have been for all that it covered the almost unbelievable story of a man who pretended to be a doctor for years and went on to kill his entire family.

The Adversary, published 2001 in French and in 2017 in English, is by Emmanuel Carrere. The strapline beneath the title is: “A true story of monstrous deception”. The book is absolutely stupendous, became a bestseller and then a film.

Now, Romand’s story seems to be coming back to life as podcasts, a strange sort of rebirth indeed. It is one that the victims’ family must resent, with one of his brothers-in-law bitterly telling The Times in 2019: “By asking to be released he is killing my sister a second and a third time.”