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Seven men jailed for performing extreme body modifications

|News, Violent crime

Seven men involved in performing life-changing procedures ranging from the amputation of penises and castration, to the freezing of limbs that required amputation, have been jailed today for their part in a dangerous underworld of extreme body modifications.

Marius Gustavson, 46, was the ring-leader of an enterprise that involved performing surgery in non-sterile conditions and without medical training, leaving victims with irreversible and life-changing injuries.

As well as preying on vulnerable men, encouraging them to have various dangerous procedures, Gustavson filmed the explicit surgeries and streamed them to paying subscribers online via his website.

Gustavson was involved in at least 22 procedures including the removal of victims’ testicles, the amputation of penises, clamping of testicles with burdizzo clips (ordinarily used by vets in the castration of cattle), and the insertion of needles into genitalia. He was assisted by another defendant to place his own leg in dry ice which later required amputation meaning he was able to secure disability benefits.

The prosecution revealed that this was a lucrative business, earning Gustavson £223,229.43, $32,972.99 and €24,799 in profit from his website between 2017 and 2021. He recruited like-minded individuals to assist him in this largescale and dangerous activity, including his co-defendants in this case.

Gustavson, along with David Carruthers, 61, Janus Atkin, 39, Peter Wates, 67, and Ion Valentin Ciucur, 30, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm with intent.

Gustavson pleaded guilty to a range of further offences including five additional counts of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, making an indecent image of a child, four counts of distributing indecent images of a child, possessing extreme pornographic images, and possessing criminal property.

Gustavson was sentenced at the Old Bailey today (9 May 2024) to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 22 years.

His co-defendants in the conspiracy were sentenced as follows:

  • David Carruthers was sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment
  • Janus Atkin was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment
  • Peter Wates was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment
  • Ion Valentin Ciucur was sentenced to 5 years and 8 months’ imprisonment

In addition, two further co-defendants, Ashley Williams, 32 and Stefan Scharf, 61, were sentenced for causing grievous bodily harm with intent, and both were jailed for 4 years and 6 months each.

Kate Mulholland, CPS London Specialist Prosecutor, said: “Marius Gustavson ignored the risks of performing unnecessary surgery on vulnerable men for sexual gratification and financial gain. He actively recruited participants through his website and was paid to stream the footage of these barbaric procedures.

“Whilst the victims in this case all seemingly consented to surgeries and amputations, the victim who bravely reported his assault to the police expressed serious regret regarding his procedure and the lasting impact it has had upon him. This clearly emphasises why such practices are unlawful.

“The severity of today’s sentence should act as a warning to others that performing extreme body modifications is against the law and the CPS won’t hesitate to prosecute these horrendous crimes.”

Notes to editors

  • Kate Mulholland is a Specialist Prosecutor in the CPS London Complex Casework Unit

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