A fantasist who worked as a forensic pathologist examining air crash victims and guest lecturer at a police academy is facing up to four years in jail in the Netherlands after admitting to forging his qualifications.
Branded a Fantasist and a Fake
The man, named only as Peter B, worked for years at a firm specialising in the repatriation and identification of victims of major disasters, as well as the Dutch police and public health bodies.
Prosecutors are seeking a four-year jail term, with six months suspended, after he admitted to a court in Utrecht that he had forged a doctorate from the University of Amsterdam, among other diplomas, in order to build his fraudulent career.
Such was the 58-year-old’s apparent professionalism that he had risen to become chair of the National Professional Association of Autopsy Assistants. “In retrospect you think how terribly naive we have all been,” a spokesman for the association said.
“The point is that he really had knowledge of medical matters, he could talk to us about complex illnesses without any problems. But to be honest, we should have been sharper.”
The court heard the impostor had nevertheless managed to convince public bodies and an emergency services firm, Kenyon International Emergency Services, of his credentials.
The mother of a 20-year-old Dutch woman who died in the German Wings Air Crash 2015, told the court the man had given her a lock of her daughter’s hair when apparently working on the case.
The woman – whose daughter was one of 150 killed when the plane’s co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, deliberately crashed flight 9525 in the French Alps – cried as she told the court of her lack of trust in anything she had been told about her daughter’s death.
A spokesman for Kenyon insisted the fraudster, who was from the village of Bennekom, 25 miles west of Arnhem, had not been on the site of crashes or directly involved in identifying victims.
Prosecutors painted a picture of a fantasist, who colleagues nicknamed Dr Bones and who had become respected in his field despite carrying around a business card displaying the motto: “I open corpses to close cases.”
He erroneously told colleagues he had worked on identifying victims of a series of disasters.
The judge in the case, who will pass sentence in two weeks, asked Peter B whether he had been seeking to live up to the demands of his father. “I suppressed that,” the defendant said. “But my father was very dominant.”
“The question is: why?”, the judge said.
“Very honestly, I wouldn’t know,” the man responded. “It’s something in me. Things have happened that I cannot explain 100%.”
Sourced from : The Guardian