Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

‘Punk Rock’ Man who Ate Own Septic Finger Won’t Face Charges

David Playpenz of Colchester, Essex, was in a motorcycle accident in which he hurt his hand. When he showed it to doctors a few days later, and one of the fingers had turned black, they said that the digit would have to be amputated. Playpenz went through with the procedure and later asked to be able to take his severed finger home. Sure! Said the doctors, who had no idea what he planned next.

Playpenz, who is in his 30s and a bondage furniture maker by trade, apparently was always curious about cannibalism, “I’d always wondered what human flesh tastes like. But it’s taboo. People can’t go around being cannibals – that’s illegal. Only then, it occurred to me that no one could haul me to court for eating my own flesh. I decided to cook it and taste it. Then my curiosity would be satisfied.” He happily photographed the event for posterity, saved the bones, and posted the whole thing on his Facebook page, including the boiled finger (warning this link is not for the faint of heart). Needless to say Playpenz got mixed reactions from friends, though it seems that he was correct that he would not be charged with any crime.

After all, most countries don’t have laws about not eating your own surgically removed, necrotic body parts, because, who would do that? A man in Japan had a similar idea though in 2012, and it did get him into trouble.

Mao Sugiyama and his infamous meal

Mao Sugiyama and his infamous meal

Mao Sugiyama, 22, a gender-neutral performance artist from Tokyo decided that he would have his genitals surgically removed and take them home — no problems there, all was nice and legal.

Sugiyama’s miscalculation came later when he decided to host an event at which he cooked his carefully preserved and prepared penis and genitals and served to them to a table of cannibalistic diners for about $250 a plate. He said it was meant to raise awareness about x-gender, asexual people. The dinner was a success, the diners where ecstatic, the artist/chef applauded — until the public got wind of it.

Enough people in Tokyo were revolted by the knowledge of what had happened in their city that police were forced to look into the event. They quickly determined from Sugiyama’s website that the event did actually occur. The only problem was that Sugiyama hadn’t broken any laws. In fact he had obsessively followed all ordinances regarding surgical waste. The ordinances simply did address the question of willingly eating surgical waste. Also there were no laws banning cannibalism on the books.

To satisfy public outrage, police were ultimately forced to charge Sugiyama with indecent exposure. He could serve up to two years in prison and face a fine of up to $32,000.

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