‘Dr Evil’ tattooist who cut off client’s nipple admits GBH charges
Brendan McCarthy changed his pleas after appeal judges rejected his defence based on customer consent.
An extreme body artist dubbed Dr Evil has admitted to removing an ear, a nipple and splitting a tongue at the request of his customers.
Brendan McCarthy performed the bizarre procedures at his tattoo studio - called Dr Evil’s Body Modification Emporium at Princess Alley in Wolverhampton city centre - between August 2012 and July 2015.
The 50-year-old registered tattooist was charged in one of the first UK court cases of its kind after a police investigation, believed to have been triggered by a complaint from another tattooist, was launched four years ago.
He had previously denied six charges - three of causing grievous bodily harm with intent and three alternative offences of inflicting grievous bodily harm without intent - when he appeared at Wolverhampton Crown Court in September 2017.
But he changed his plea to guilty to the three charges of causing grievous bodily harm with intent when he reappeared at the same court.
He admitted removing the left ear of a man called Ezechiel Lott on July 23 2015; using a scalpel to split the tongue of an unidentified woman on July 23 2012 and removing the nipple of an unidentified man on August 16 2012.
The case, in which reporting restrictions were lifted, was adjourned to March 21 after Mr Andrew Smith QC, defending said: “While recognising these offences cross the custody threshold the facts of this case may allow the court to depart from the established guidelines.”
Judge Amjad Nawaz told the defendant, who was remanded on bail and while a pre-sentence report is prepared: “These are serious matters and ordinarily the sentence of custody would be inevitable but there are differences in this particular case and we will deal with them at a later date.”
The original pleas of not guilty were based on the fact that the three alleged 'victims' had each consented to what happened.
But Judge Nawaz ruled that consent was not a defence to a criminal charge. This was upheld after the defence took an appeal to the High Court where the case was heard by three judges including the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales.
They ruled that the procedures were not comparable to tattoos and piercings. They conceded he had done quite a good job on the ear removal but maintained it was not in the public interest that somebody could wound another for no good reason.
The judgement continued: "Those seeking body modification of the sort we are concerned with in this appeal invited the appellant to perform irreversible surgery without anaesthetic with profound long-term consequences.
"The fact that a desire to have an ear or nipple removed or tongue split is incomprehensible to most, may not be sufficient in itself to raise the question whether those who seek to do so might be in need of a mental health assessment.
"The personal autonomy of his customers does not provide the appellant with a justification for removing body modification from the ambit of the law of assault."
Permission to take the appeal to the Supreme Court was refused.
Mr Harpreet Jhawar, defending, explained at an earlier court hearing: "My client has got the support of all his customers. He tells me the police have contacted everyone in his diary. They have asked them if they would be willing to provide a complaint. Every single customer from the last two or three years has said ‘no’.” He insisted that the defendant ran a ‘good and established’ business.
An online petition backing the 'skilful, knowledgeable and hygienic' work of the tattooist was signed by 13,000 people in 2017.
It urged: "Please sign to show your support for Mac and for the right to express ourselves in whatever modified manner we wish in a safe environment. Because Barbie & Ken aren't everyone's idea of beautiful."
But the prosecution maintained that 'surgical procedures' had not been followed so unlawful acts had been committed.
McCarthy, of Moreton Road, Bushbury, who has tattoos on his hands, face and neck and a ring inside his earlobe, had previously been seen performing a procedure on series one of Channel 4’s Body Mods. His salon was also known as 'Punctured Body Piercing & Modification,' the name under which his website operated.
Throughout the lengthy legal process he has been remanded on bail, with a condition banning him from carrying out any body modification procedure or work that involved the removal of body parts.
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