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'Dr Evil' tattooist jailed for 40 months after splitting customer's tongue

Brendan McCarthy previously admitted three counts of causing grievous bodily harm. Credit: PA

A tattooist known as Dr Evil has been handed a 40-month jail term after carrying out ear and nipple removals at the request of two of his customers.

Brendan McCarthy, who also carried out a tongue-splitting procedure at his studio in Wolverhampton, pleaded guilty last month to three counts of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

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

The judge said of McCarthy: "He 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."

Brendan McCarthy, with a client in his emporium. Credit: West Midlands Police/PA

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

After he had disappeared from view, McCarthy could be heard repeatedly howling in apparent distress.

The 50-year-old, from Bushbury, Wolverhampton, pleaded guilty last month to three counts of causing grievous bodily harm at his business called Dr Evil’s Body Modification Emporium.

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

Earlier court hearings were told the ear removal was performed in 2015 without anaesthetic, three years after McCarthy split a woman’s tongue with a scalpel.

Appeal court judges ruled written consent from customers was no defence for 'Dr Evil'. Credit: Matthew Cooper/PA

Prosecutor Peter Grieves-Smith QC said of the tattooist's guilty pleas: "The prosecution have accepted that the customers in this case consented to the procedures performed by the defendant.

"That involved the removal of an ear, secondly the division of a tongue to create a forked tongue, and thirdly the removal of a nipple."

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

In comments to police, read into the record by Mr Grieves-Smith, 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 QC Andrew Smith had urged Judge Nawaz not to jail McCarthy, adding: "Each individual actively sought the procedures. It came about as an extension of the work he had historically undertaken in respect of body-piercing and tattooing.

"The defendant is plainly remorseful ... expressed through pleas of guilty and expressed in his discussion with the Probation Service."

Inside Dr Evil’s Body Modification Emporium in Wolverhampton. Credit: West Midlands Police/PA

McCarthy first appeared at Wolverhampton Crown Court in 2017, when he initially denied six counts relating to the three procedures.

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, contending 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.