An “extreme body modification artist” was sentenced to 10 years in prison after being found guilty of manslaughter, female genital mutilation, and intentionally causing grievous bodily harm.
The charges relate to procedures on three women in Australia between 2015 and 2017, one of whom died from septicaemia after a snowflake-shaped silicone implant inserted into her right hand became infected. The court heard that the offender, Brendan Leigh Russell, discouraged the woman from seeking medical help for the infection.
Russell—who reportedly went by the name BSlice in the body modification industry—was sentenced on Monday to an aggregate term of imprisonment of 10 years, with a non-parole period of seven years and six months. He was originally found guilty of his crimes in the New South Wales District Court in 2021.
One of Russel’s victims had her labia surgically removed during a procedure that involved the use of a branding iron, and in the following 12 months experienced so much pain that she was unable to wear underwear or use tampons.
The third had to get corrective surgery after Russell removed what the judge described as a “large sausage shaped portion of fat” from her abdomen during a quasi-medical and “clearly dangerous” abdominoplasty in the tattoo room of his studio in NSW.
After returning home, the latter patient awoke in agonising pain and was bleeding profusely, most likely as a result of Russell having pierced her abdominal wall when, “showing off mid-procedure,” he implanted the scalpel back into the wound, the judge said.
“Common sense suggests anyone would understand cutting a large piece of flesh from a person's body is dangerous,” Syme noted, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). “There is no evidence the offender believed otherwise.”
Syme further pointed out that Russell, 41, was “a self-proclaimed extreme body modification artist” but “was not registered as a health practitioner,” and that his deceased victim had considered him a “god” at the time of receiving the snowflake implant.
Weeks after that initial procedure in March 2017, Russell reopened the wound and repositioned the snowflake implant before stitching it back up, and—despite the blood and pus flowing out—advised her to take painkillers instead of seeing a medical practitioner.
“Had she taken urgent medical advice even at that time she had a good prospect of survival,” the judge said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. “[There is] no other conclusion to draw other than his concern was not for her welfare but for himself, his reputation, and his business as a body modifier.”
Syme claimed that in all three cases the procedures were undertaken without proper hygienic procedures or aftercare. In relation to the deceased, Syme found that Russell’s actions “were grossly negligent from start to finish.”
There was “ample evidence of his hubris in general,” she said, and he “expressed no remorse or responsibility” for his crimes.
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