On Monday, Brendan Leigh Russell was found guilty of female genital mutilation by a judge in Sydney, Australia. The self-proclaimed extreme body modifier tried to defend himself by comparing his procedures to those performed by plastic surgeons despite not having any medical qualifications himself.

In the said case, Russell was charged after he burnt off parts of a client's genitals using a cattle branding iron. The procedure was done in 2015 in his shop in Newcastle, and was deemed as a consensual procedure, hence his argument that elective cosmetic surgery is no different.

"If defence advocate is suggesting the procedure performed by his client is in any way comparable to a procedure performed for therapeutic purposes by a cosmetic surgeon, then this is just factually incorrect," said Sydney district court judge, Helen Syme, as she handed down the guilty verdict. The judge also called it a "nonsense suggestion" to compare the procedure to those done by qualified cosmetic surgeons.

Russell is still awaiting his sentence, which could be a maximum prison term of 21 years. However, the 40-year-old body mutilator's troubles do not end there. Judge Syme will also be delivering a verdict on a more serious manslaughter charge following the death of a customer in 2017.

According to The Guardian, one of Russell's loyal customers had asked him to implant a plastic snowflake into her hand, among other severe modifications she had already enlisted him to do. However, the wound on her right hand became infected, and even though she returned to him to reopen, clean and restitch the wound, she died from severe sepsis. He allegedly advised her against seeking proper medical care even after being made aware of the botched procedure.

Hi lawyer, Michael Mantaj, is insisting that the death may have been due to other causes such as drug toxicity. Another charge was also brought to the judge after another client suffered an infection following a tummy tuck performed by Russell. The case is still ongoing.

tattoo sepsis
tattoo sepsis (representational image) BMJ Case Reports