Modification mutilation victim may have suffered amnesia

A NSW woman whose genitalia was allegedly mutilated with a "branding iron" by a body modifier may have suffered memory loss from drugs administered during the surgery, a court heard.

Prominent modifier BSlice, whose real name is Brendan­ Russell, denies removing the client's labia minora five years ago and will face trial later this year.

In a separate trial now underway Luna Cobra, also known as Howard Rollins, has pleaded not guilty to coaching him through the January 2015 procedure.

On Wednesday Downing Centre District Court heard the complainant was given two Valium tablets for the operation, which interacted with her regular medication commonly used to treat depression.

Howard Rollins (file image)
Howard Rollins (file image)

"They both cause sedation," forensic pharmacologist John Andrew Farrar said.

"There are effects on long term memory."

The expert witness said once patients recover from the drug they can have either zero or only a partial recollection of events which occurred during their procedure.

Rollins admits being at the Newcastle studio on the day of the painful surgery but denies being in the room as it was done.

However prosecutors allege Rollins told Russell to give the woman more anaesthetic when she said she was in pain, and told him "cut and cauterise, cut and cauterise".

The woman claims that before the surgery "Howie was sitting there staring at me, I said to him "turn around and don't watch me undress"."

"I yelled "stop, it hurts!" Howie said "you don't have to go through with it if you want, it's okay"," the alleged victim said.

On Thursday, television director Simon Heath told the court Rollins wanted to name and shame "cowboy operators" who were pushing the boundaries of legal body modifications.

Mr Heath, who met Rollins in 2008 on the set of a National Geographic documentary featuring the modifier, had worked for Channel 7 and 9 when he was approached about doing the expose.

Body modification artist Brendan Russell. Picture: Facebook/Instagram
Body modification artist Brendan Russell. Picture: Facebook/Instagram

"He was hoping that I could alert A Current Affair," Mr Heath said.

Two other witnesses have previously told the court Rollins cut ties with Russell over his allegedly risky procedures, telling them "Brendan is going to kill someone one day."

Russell is separately charged with the manslaughter of another client after he allegedly implanted a snowflake in the back of her hand and it became fatally infected. He has pleaded not guilty and Rollins has not been charged with any involvement.

Russell is accused of killing young mum Samantha Hegyi, 30, after he allegedly implanted a snowflake in the back of her hand and it became fatally infected.

The trial continues.


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