Dad, 32, died from organ failure after getting tattoo in a shed

Ben Larry sadly died after contracting a serious infection
-Credit:No credit

A dad died from organ failure after receiving a tattoo from an unlicensed artist in a makeshift garden shed studio.

Much-loved dad, Ben Larry, from Middlebank Road, Ormesby, North Yorkshire, passed away on May 6 last year, leaving behind a family who said he "touched so many hearts" and was "loved by everyone". An inquest at Teesside Coroner's Court into the 32-year-old's death revealed that Ben's leg became infected following the tattoo procedure.

Assistant coroner Paul Appleton delivered a conclusion that Ben's death was due to multi-organ failure resulting from an infection in his right leg. He said: "This infection was secondary to tattoo work that Benjamin had done to his right leg on 1 May 2023. That tattoo work was performed at unregistered premises."

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It was previously reported that a 35-year-old man was arrested in relation to the incident; however, the case was subsequently dropped because of "evidential difficulties", according to a Cleveland Police spokesperson. They added: "Following a police investigation, it was decided that due to evidential difficulties, there would be no prosecution with regards to the death of a 32-year-old man."

Although the criminal proceedings came to a halt, Middlesbrough Council proceeded with a civil action against the tattooist, Tony James Learmount. In January, at Teesside Magistrates' Court, he was convicted for operating out of a garden shed that was not registered for tattooing activities, reports Teesside Live.

Prosecutor Thomas Durance revealed that on May 9, last year, public protection officers from Middlesbrough Council were alerted by Cleveland Police following the death of a man due to sepsis. Mr Durance informed the court: "The infection had originally developed around the area of a new tattoo. Cleveland Police investigated and this led to confirmation of the tattooist being Mr Tony James Learmount of Donington Green, Middlesbrough. The same location where the tattoo had taken place."

In Learmount's absence, the council's case was proven and magistrates fined the tattooist £1,000, ordered him to pay a £400 victim surcharge and £300 towards the council costs. Cleveland Police previously issued a warning to the public about the dangers of unlicensed tattooists, urging people to check the Body Art register before visiting a tattooist.

In 2018 Learmount was stopped from trading to protect public health and anyone with a tattoo inked by Learmount was advised to contact their GP. The action was taken by Middlesbrough Council following complaints from members of the public about the artist's hygiene standards when carrying out work at addresses in Rainsford Crescent, in Thorntree, and Park Lane, central Middlesbrough.

Inside Tony James Learmount's garden shed tattoo parlour
Inside Tony James Learmount's garden shed tattoo parlour

Environmental Health Officers, upon investigation, discovered that Learmount posed a serious risk to human health. The court issued an immediate order prohibiting him from operating as a tattooist.

After the devastating loss of Ben, his parents expressed their grief: "Our precious, adored, kind and caring son was loved by everyone. He touched so many hearts."

"No parent should lose a child, no child should lose their daddy and no grandparent should lose a grandchild. Our hearts are broken, we are so lucky to have our two beautiful grandsons to keep his legacy and our memories of him alive."

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