Body modification artist bragged he was ‘better than a doctor’, court told

Heath Parkes-HuptonNCA NewsWire
He is facing a judge-alone trial. NCA NewsWire / James Gourley
Camera IconHe is facing a judge-alone trial. NCA NewsWire / James Gourley Credit: News Corp Australia

A NSW body modification artist on trial for charges including manslaughter had an army of “groupies” who he could talk into getting ”anything” done to them, a court has been told.

One of Brendan Leigh Russell’s former proteges has testified in Mr Russell’s District Court trial that the man known in the industry as BSlice DotCom had bragged about being “better than a doctor”.

Mr Russell has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter, female genital mutilation and causing grievous bodily harm during three procedures he carried out on separate women between 2015 and 2017.

Body modification artist Brendan Russell has pleaded not guilty at trial.
Camera IconBody modification artist Brendan Russell has pleaded not guilty at trial. Credit: Supplied

The 40-year-old from the Central Coast says all three women consented to the procedures and he was not at fault for any arising medical complications.

One woman died from an infection after a silicone snowflake was implanted under the skin of her hand in 2015.

Another’s stomach became infected after receiving a tummy tuck from Mr Russell at his Erina shop in 2016.

Body modification enthusiast John Brady, who had previously been mentored by Mr Russell, was called to give evidence on Friday.

He said his mentor started doing procedures such as earlobe reconstructions and skin peels and progressed to more advanced operations like eyeball tattoos and tongue splits.

Mr Brady, from Queensland, said Mr Russell “always bragged about how good he was” and made disparaging comments about other artists.

“Basically, he’d just talk himself up,” he said. “To him he was the best.

“He was better than a doctor … he thought he was a lot better than a lot of mod artists in the world.”

Mr Brady said he had seen Mr Russell perform procedures wearing a singlet and thongs, noting that some of his peers would not work unless they were wearing sleeved shirts for infection control.

He said Mr Russell, who had performed procedures on Mr Brady, “had a lot of people who … were just kinda like his groupies” that he could easily influence.

DOWNING CENTRE
Camera IconHe is facing a judge-alone trial. NCA NewsWire / James Gourley Credit: News Corp Australia

“He’d just make suggestions to people ‘I'll do this, it’ll look cool. You’ll get heaps of attention out of it’,“ Mr Brady claimed.

“Sometimes he’d offer discounted rates, sometimes he wouldn’t charge them for it.”

The court has previously been told Mr Russell paid $15,000 for his body modification qualifications in the US.

Mr Brady claimed Mr Russell said he got his qualifications from the Association of Professional Piercers.

“You basically sit in a room and you get your piece of paper at the end,” is what Mr Russell allegedly told Mr Brady of the course.

The judge-alone trial continues.

Originally published as Body modification artist bragged he was ‘better than a doctor’, court told

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