Birmingham & Black Country

'Dr Evil': Wolverhampton tattooist jailed for tongue-splitting

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Media captionBrendan ‘Dr Evil’ McCarthy admits GBH for performing tongue splitting and nipple removal

A body modification artist known as Dr Evil has been jailed for carrying out ear and nipple removals and splitting a customer's tongue.

Brendan McCarthy carried out consensual procedures without using anaesthetic.

The 50-year-old, of Bushbury in Wolverhampton, ran Dr Evil's Body Modification Emporium.

He pleaded guilty to three counts of grievous bodily harm and was jailed at Wolverhampton Crown Court for three years and four months.

McCarthy admitted the charges after the Court of Appeal said his customers' written consent to the procedures did not amount to a defence.

Warning: This article contains graphic imagery.

Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption Out-of-date medical materials were found in McCarthy's studio

Judge Amjad Nawaz said the body-modification industry was unregulated and McCarthy was only registered as a tattooist and cosmetic piercer.

He said McCarthy "had no qualifications to carry out surgical procedures or to deal with any adverse consequences which could have arisen".

"There is a clear public interest element. There is also a need for deterrent," the judge added.

Several of McCarthy's friends cried and comforted each other as he was taken from the dock.

'Exceptional circumstances'

The court heard customer Ezechiel Lott, whose ear was removed in 2015, had been contacted by police after McCarthy pleaded guilty.

In comments to police, read into the record by prosecutor Peter Grieves-Smith QC, Mr Lott said he "felt like he had been deceived" as he thought at the time that the procedure was legal.

Mr Grieves-Smith said: "He stated that had he known it was illegal, he would never have had the procedure because he certainly was not that desperate to have his ear removed."

Defence barrister Andrew Smith QC urged the judge not to jail McCarthy, describing the "unusual" case as being one of "exceptional circumstances".

"Each individual actively sought the procedures," Mr Smith said.

Image caption McCarthy no longer runs Dr Evil's Body Modification Emporium in Princess Alley

West Midlands Police said McCarthy conducted the procedures without knowing his clients' medical histories or psychiatric backgrounds.

Officers discovered out-of-date pre-injection swabs, anaesthetic gel, stitching thread and needles, the force added.

McCarthy was arrested in December 2015 following a complaint to the City of Wolverhampton Council's environmental health team.

The council said its issue was with McCarthy's lack of licence to carry out the modification procedures and the need for more regulation in the industry which delivers results "akin to cosmetic surgery".

An online petition which attracted 13,000 signatures was set up to support the "knowledgeable, skilful and hygienic" body-piercer, who was refused permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.

In February, McCarthy told the BBC the situation was "crushing".

He said: "I'm a shadow of my former self. I don't feel I've done anything wrong."

Image copyright City of Wolverhampton Council
Image caption McCarthy removed a client's ear in 2015 at his studio in Wolverhampton

Following a failed bid to convince a crown court judge that consent was a lawful defence, McCarthy took his case to the Court of Appeal arguing that the procedures should be regarded as lawful to protect the "personal autonomy" of his customers.

But three Court of Appeal judges, who noted that McCarthy had divided a customer's tongue "to produce an effect similar to that enjoyed by reptiles", said the procedures were not comparable to tattoos and piercings.

Councillor Steve Evans, cabinet member for city environment, said the council had "exposed a national issue which requires a national regulation to be introduced to protect members of the public against the risks of extreme body modification".

He added: "Whilst I'm sure Mr McCarthy considers himself an artist, providing a service removing and cutting people's body parts without adequate medical training from unsuitable retail premises, presents a risk to the public that we are not prepared to accept."

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