France tries to extradite 'horror dentist' after manhunt
A rogue dentist tracked down on suspicion of mutilating dozens of French patients was flown Sunday from Canada to his native Netherlands, where he claims to have murdered his wife, Dutch prosecutors said.
Detained in a small town in Canada this week, Mark van Nierop was sent back to his home country Sunday and formally arrested under an international warrant issued by France, a spokesman for the prosecutor's office in The Hague told AFP.
Dubbed the "Dentist of horror" by the Dutch media, it was unclear however whether France would succeed in its bid to have Van Nierop extradited.
"He appears to have told Canadian authorities that he murdered his wife. We are taking his confession seriously and want to look into his claim," said the spokesman.
"We have yet to decide what to do with him, since there are several sides to this case."
Van Nierop claims to have killed his wife in 2006, two years before he was persuaded to move to the remote rural area of Chateau-Chinon in central France.
He was initially welcomed by locals who were sorely lacking in medical services.
But concerns soon started to mount as patients reported broken jaws, recurrent abscesses, septicemia and healthy teeth being pulled out, French media reported.
Van Nierop has also been charged with fraud over claims he tried to rip off customers.
"He said he had done 17 treatments on 17 different teeth for my wife in 10 minutes, as well as charging for a tooth that had been pulled out 10 years earlier," one local, Gerard Martin, told AFP in July.
A group of 120 victims formed a collective to press charges, and a criminal investigation was opened in May 2013.
But Van Nierop fled in December, forcing French authorities to seek an international warrant for his arrest.
He was detained this week in the small town of Nackawic in the Canadian province of New Brunswick.
According to Dutch media, he had already come under investigation at home over his working practices before resettling in France.
© 2014 AFP