Body Modifier Charged With Manslaughter After Client Dies Of Septicaemia

An Australian body modifier has been charged with manslaughter after one of his clients died.

Brendan Russell, 37, was arrested after the death of Samantha Strickland, 30, who died of septicaemia caused by an implant that Russell had placed in her hand.

He was charged with manslaughter and causing grievous bodily harm.

Credit: NSW Police
Credit: NSW Police


Ms Strickland's body was found by her seven-year-old daughter at their home in April. She had a silicone snowflake implanted into her hand by Mr Russell and died three weeks later as a result of a complication from the body modification.

Russell works as a tattoo artist and "body modifier" from his shop on the Central Coast of New South Wales, Australia. He was arrested at his home in Terrigal, twelves kilometres inland from the main city of Gosford.

He was already facing police charges of practising female genital mutilation after he allegedly burned the vagina of a client in 2016 at her request. It is thought that the charge of grievous bodily harm relates to the second case rather than the death of Ms Strickland.

Credit: NSW Police
Credit: NSW Police


"Strike force officers have also been investigating a complaint by a second woman, who allegedly engaged the body modifier for a stomach procedure at his Erina business in November 2016," said a statement from New South Wales police.

Body modification is a growing trend in the tattoo industry, but legislation has been slow to catch up with it and thus many of the procedures that practitioners such as Mr Russell carry out are in a legal grey area.

According to police, 'there is currently no legislation for body modification in NSW however members of the so-called skin penetration industry are required to follow public health regulations'.

Russell's social media accounts are filled with images of work that he has done on previous clients.

One feature a client with large scars along their back, with Russell pictured alongside them holding bits of skin that he removed. Another shows a client with gums tattooed black and a third with a heavily scarred forehead that is alleged to have been done to cover up tattoos.

Russell was taken into custody in Gosford, NSW, and his tattoo shop has been temporarily closed. He was refused bail and will appear in court tomorrow.

Mike Wood

Mike Meehall Wood is a freelance journalist and translator. He writes for LADbible, VICE and countless sports publications, focusing on rugby league, football and boxing. He is a graduate of Leeds University and maintains a fizzy pop obsession. Contact Mike at [email protected]

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