A man from the NSW Central Coast has pleaded not guilty to charges of manslaughter, female genital mutilation, and intentionally causing grievous bodily harm, in relation to procedures he carried out on three women between 2015 and 2017.
On Monday, a court heard that a woman who received a “tummy tuck” from body modifier Brendan Russell in 2016 at a salon in a shopping centre, experienced “extreme pain” and was covered in fresh blood before collapsing, as she attempted to recover from the procedure at home. The woman eventually needed to undergo corrective surgery in a hospital after her stomach wound became infected.
Another woman died from a blood infection after Russell implanted a plastic snowflake under the skin of her hand. He also faces an accusation that he mutilated a woman’s labia using a branding iron.
Russell, who calls himself BSlice DotCom, does not deny performing these procedures, but says they did not cause medical complications for the women. The court heard on Monday that Russell has no medical qualifications.
The woman who underwent the “tummy tuck” said that Russell had told her “he’d done it before”.
“[He] pretty much said it was a pretty easy procedure,” the woman told the Sydney District Court on Monday. The court heard the procedure was performed under local anaesthetic for an $800 fee, while the woman’s two sons had their haircut.
To perform the procedure, Russell wore gloves, but did not wear a surgical mask or gown. He sliced into the woman’s stomach, removed a strip of her skin, and stitched the wound.
“I just woke up in extreme pain…(my husband) looked at my nightie and there was fresh blood everywhere, the lounge was covered in blood,” she told the court.
At a follow-up appointment, Russell removed some of the woman’s stitches, and said not to be concerned about the bleeding. He said he was travelling overseas and she should got to a medical centre in a few days to have the remaining stitches removed.
The woman did not report the procedure until she saw media reports two years later that Russell had been charged with allegedly mutilating a woman’s labia with a branding iron.
“She was getting annihilated on social media and I felt sorry for her,” she said. “I felt like if someone else came forward as well, maybe people would realise that these things happen.”
The trial is underway before Judge Helen Syme, without a jury, and is expected to run for two weeks.