A man from Barnstaple and a woman from Newton Abbot have defended a tattooist known as Doctor Evil for carrying out extreme body modification on them - after he was jailed for more than three years today (21 March).
Brendan McCarthy - who worked under the name Doctor Evil - pleaded guilty last month to three counts of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.
He claimed all those who underwent the illegal procedures gave consent, but the law states this is not a defence.
Steff Goldring from Newton Abbot is a friend and former colleague of Brendan's. She had a procedure to split her tongue into a fork.
She said: "A lot of people that know him well, that have had work done, have come and supported him because we're all happy with everything we've had done. We've all signed consent forms, we've asked for the procedure to be done."
Also known as Mac, Brendan McCarthy is well known in the industry as a specialist in body modification. For the past few years he has been working in the West Midlands.
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."
Nick Pinch, a body piercer in Barnstaple, went to McCarthy's to have his nipples removed and objects to being called a victim of the tattooist.
I've got absolutely no complaints towards him, the procedure, anything that's happened afterwards, nothing whatsoever. Everything's just been perfect. I chose to have the procedure. I went to him to have this procedure. I would never class myself as a victim at all and I think it's quite offensive because there are actual genuine victims of other crimes and they're just throwing the word victim around like it's nothing.
McCarthy, who owned Dr Evil's Body Modification Emporium, admitted the charges against him after the Court of Appeal said his customers’ written consent did not amount to a defence.
Earlier court hearings were told an ear removal was performed in 2015 without anaesthetic, three years after McCarthy split a woman’s tongue with a scalpel.
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."
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.