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Marius Gustavson: Removing penis from 'eunuch maker' was 'one off escort's bucket list', court hears

The leader of an extreme body modification ring was a "willing victim" when he had his penis removed and underwent a procedure to amputate his leg, a court has heard.

Warning: The following article contains graphic details of extreme physical mutilation

Norwegian national Marius Gustavson, 46, set up the "eunuch maker" website, where people subscribed and were charged a pay-per-view fee in order to watch footage of the procedures, the Old Bailey was told.

Jurors heard how he later claimed thousands in disability benefits after having his leg removed.

Caroline Carberry KC said he led the "widespread practice" of extreme body modification over more than five years, including "the removal of genitals and testicles, clamping of testicles to the point of castration and the freezing of a limb required to be amputated".

Ten men have been charged over their alleged participation in the practice, including Damien Byrnes, 36, nurse Nathaniel Arnold, 48, and Jacob Crimi-Appleby, 23, who are facing sentencing after pleading guilty to causing grievous bodily harm (GBH) with intent.

Gustavson was said to be the "willing victim" when Byrnes cut off his penis, Arnold removed the tip of his nipple and Crimi-Appleby froze his left leg at his flat in Harringay, north London.

Ms Carberry said he was the "mastermind of a lucrative extreme body modification enterprise" and "consented to the procedures and indeed encouraged the defendants to participate".

Gustavson, who has admitted charges including conspiracy to commit GBH, faces sentencing in March with others and was refused permission by Judge Mark Lucraft KC to attend Friday's hearing.

Crimi-Appleby, from Epsom, Surrey, has admitted freezing Gustavson's left leg so that it had to be amputated in February 2019.

They first started communicating when Crimi-Appleby was 17, but he told Gustavson he was 18.

He said he was interested in castration and Gustavson told Crimi-Appleby that he was a "great age", and encouraged him to have the procedure.

They began a sexual relationship in early 2019, with Gustavson boasting about other modifications and keeping the testicles of other men in a jar, which Crimi-Appleby thought was "awesome".

A video for the eunuch maker website shows Gustavson sitting on a bed with his left leg in a bucket saying "ooh this is cold" as Crimi-Appleby adds dry ice.

Gustavson was treated at the Royal Free Hospital following the procedure, which lasted at least eight hours and eventually resulted in his left leg being amputated below the knee.

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Medical notes state: "Self-amputation by freezing the leg can pose risks to both life and limb."

He was discharged around two months after the amputation and received £18,500 in benefits between July 2019 and October 2021 after making a successful claim for Personal Independent Payment - to help people with extra costs of living with a health condition or disability.

Byrnes, who was initially hired by Gustavson as an escort, "readily agreed" to perform a modification, knowing it would be filmed and uploaded to the website to generate revenue, the court was told.

His face was clearly shown in the video of him removing Gustavson's penis using a kitchen knife in what was described as "a life-threatening procedure performed in a non-medical environment".

He is heard to say: "Well that's one off the bucket list. I never expected that one," and asks Gustavson: "Would you eat humans?"

Gustavson called an ambulance following the procedure and was taken to hospital for treatment.

The court heard Byrnes, from Tottenham, north London, was initially offered £500 and his motivation was "financial rather than sexual", although it is not clear how much he was paid.

Arnold, from South Kensington, west London, admitted removing the tip of Gustavson's nipple with a disposable surgical blade in the summer 2019.

He also admitted the theft of local anaesthetic lidocaine from the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, where he worked in the dermatology unit as a nurse, and possession of extreme pornography.

Referred to as "Nurse Nate" in messages by Gustavson, the prosecutor said he was both a "victim", having undergone a genital mutilation procedure himself, and a perpetrator of harm.

Neil Griffin, defending Arnold, said he was a "highly qualified and respected nurse" who had helped thousands of people before he was struck off following his arrest in December 2021.

He said Arnold would not have committed the offences had it not been for his bipolar disorder, and is now "full of shame and remorse" and "devastated by the loss of his chosen" profession.

Lisa Bald, defending Byrnes, who wept in court, said he was addicted to drugs, in debt and clearly desperate at the time of the offence, and is now "appalled and ashamed" of what he did.

Byrnes, Crimi-Appleby, and Arnold will be sentenced on Monday.