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‘Bucket list’ penis cutter jailed for five years for ‘abhorrent’ procedure

An escort has been jailed for five years for cutting off the penis of the ringleader of an extreme body modifications group saying it was “one off the bucket list”.

Damien Byrnes, 36, admitted removing Marius Gustavson’s penis with a kitchen knife on video at his home on February 18 2017.

Afterwards, Byrnes had asked for a copy of the film and was heard to say: “Well that’s one off the bucket list. I never expected that one.”

He and two other men were each sentenced after pleading guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Gustavson.

Sentencing, Judge Mark Lucraft KC said: “To many of those looking at this case the activity will appear at the very least to be disgusting and abhorrent.”

Byrnes, from Tottenham, north London, was jailed for five years.

Damien Byrnes
Damien Byrnes admitted removing the penis of Marius Gustavson, the ringleader of an extreme body modifications group

Jacob Crimi-Appleby, 23, from Epsom in Surrey, admitted freezing Gustavson’s leg leading to the need for it to be amputated in February 2019.

The court was shown a “disturbing” video of Gustavson with his leg in a bucket of dry ice with Crimi-Appleby adding more.

After having the leg removed Gustavson received benefits of some £18,000.

Crimi-Appleby, who was 18 at the time, was sentenced to three years and eight months in prison.

Jacob Crimi-Appleby
Jacob Crimi-Appleby pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent (Lucy North/PA)

Nurse Nathan Arnold, 48, from South Kensington, west London, admitted the partial removal of Gustavson’s nipple with a scalpel in the summer of 2019.

He admitted to stealing anaesthetic between 2016 and 2022 from the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital where he had worked and also possessing 72 extreme pornographic images which were described by the judge as “graphic and appalling”.

He was handed two years in custody suspended for two years and 100 hours of unpaid work.

He was also handed 60 days of rehabilitation activity requirement and an alcohol treatment requirement.

Nathan Arnold
Nathan Arnold admitted the partial removal of a nipple with a scalpel in the summer of 2019 from Marius Gustavson

Judge Lucraft said Gustavson played a “pivotal role” in the offences committed for sexual and financial reasons and posted on his pay-per-view “eunuch maker” website.

He told the defendants: “The three of you engaged in what are extremely serious body modification procedures for various motives: a clear element of sexual gratification alongside financial reasons.

“What is clear is that there was no medical justification for anything any of you did. The removal of the penis and the leg such that it required amputation are not only irreversible and permanent but are also life-threatening.

“One of the procedures involved the use of a kitchen knife, another a scalpel and in the third, ice and then dry ice was administers over a protracted period of many hours.

“The way in which these procedures were carried out clearly aggravated the sentence: in non-sterile conditions in the home of Gustavson.

“Videos were made of each procedure and that footage then uploaded to a website for others to pay for, watch and no doubt, themselves seek some sexual gratification.”

A knife used by Damien Byrnes to remove the penis of Marius Gustavson
A knife used by Damien Byrnes to remove the penis of Marius Gustavson (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Previously, prosecutor Caroline Carberry KC said the defendants were among 10 people charged with taking part in extreme body modifications.

Gustavson, 46, had been involved in “numerous” extreme procedures including the removal of male genitals with films featuring on the lucrative “eunuch maker” website.

The ringleader, of Haringey, north London, has previously admitted charges including a conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm and will be sentenced with others on March 4 and 5.

The court had heard how Byrnes, who was listed on Gustavson’s phone under Daniel Escort Irish, had originally been hired by him for sexual services.

He was later introduced to Gustavson’s website in which graphic videos were posted for the sexual gratification of others, the court was told.

In December 2016, Byrnes “readily agreed” to mutilate Gustavson for £500 knowing it would be filmed for the money-making site, Ms Carberry said.

He told Gustavson: “I have no issue with it but won’t you loose (sic) a lot of blood, like nearly die”.

Gustavson went on to tell him he would be anaesthetised and tied down and instructed him on what to do.

Byrnes said he was “actually kinda turned on a bit” but sought assurances because he did not want to get into “trouble”.

When Gustavson reduced his financial offer, Byrnes appeared to cry off saying: “I’ve had enough man. I’m cutting your cock and balls off for 50 shitty quid when I was led to believe it’s 500.”

Two days before the procedure, Gustavson told Byrnes that he was cutting another person and that he could be a “sexy, kinky helper”.

Gustavson went on to boast that he had “done over 26 guys in total, 18 totally done”.

Graphic film of the mutilation of Gustavson was not shown in court but what it showed was described by Ms Carberry.

The prosecutor suggested the apparent fear may have been part of an “act” for the film.

Afterward Byrnes left, Gustavson called 999 and told the operator: “I tried to do some surgery on my cock”.

He was treated in hospital and discharged after a couple of days and referred to a psychiatric unit for assessment.

Ms Carberry told the court that it had been a “life-threatening procedure”.

When Byrnes did not receive payment, he threatened to go to the police.

Jacob Crimi-Appleby
Jacob Crimi-Appleby was sentenced to three years and eight months in prison for causing GBH with intent (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Gustavson responded by saying he would report him for “threats, blackmail and cutting off my cock”.

Over two years, financial records showed Gustavson had paid Byrnes sums totalling more than £1,500, the court was told.

Following his arrest in 2022, Byrnes admitted what he had done, saying he was in financial difficulty and had thrown up on the way home afterwards.

Mr Carberry said that even though Gustavson had “consented and encouraged” the defendants, text messages between them demonstrated that they were “willing participants”, she said.

The harm caused by the removal of Gustavson’s penis and leg was “so serious and so severe and life-threatening” that hospital treatment was required to “put things right”, the prosecutor said.

Judge Lucraft had rejected defence barristers’ argument that the unique circumstances of the case were outside sentencing guidelines.

Mitigating for Byrnes, Lisa Bald said Byrnes had suffered trauma during his Catholic upbringing in Ireland that set him on a path to drug addiction and desperation, she said.

He was “appalled and ashamed” by what he did in 2017, he said.

Mitigating for Arnold, Neil Griffin described him as a compassionate, gentle, mild-mannered and respectful nurse.

He committed the offences while in the grip of “hypermania” while suffering from a bipolar disorder.

Sean Poulier said Crimi-Appleby did not benefit financially from helping Gustavson freeze his leg.

He argued that his client had been “seduced” by the older man after falling down a “rabbit hole” online.

Kate Mulholland, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “This was a complex and challenging case where close working with the Metropolitan Police ensured the guilty pleas of the three sentenced today.

“Consent is not a defence to the illegal surgical procedures the men willingly took part in to remove their ringleader’s penis, leg and nipple, in non-sterile and on occasion life-threatening circumstances.”

Scotland Yard Detective Inspector Amanda Greig said it was an “extremely challenging” case.

She said: “There was an immense volume of horrific material which my team had to view in order to identify the victim and offenders.

“The offenders are part of a wider network of men who have taken part in illegal back street operations, frequently with life-threatening consequences. We have identified the network which spans across the UK and overseas, leading us to share intelligence with numerous police forces.

“We are aware that illegal operations committed by others have impacted various people, including those with complex body-dysmorphic symptoms and people within the LGBT+ community.”

“I would like to encourage anyone who has had similar experiences to seek medical advice from their GP and contact us via Crimestoppers (by calling 0800 555 111) quoting Operation Vicktor. You can also contact LGBT+ anti-abuse charity Galop on 0800 999 5428.”