Illegal Portsmouth Tattooist Inked 13-Year-Old Girl

4 November 2014, 12:34

An unlicensed tattooist from Portsmouth, who inked a misspelt a word on an under-age girl and used Jack Daniels whiskey as a cleanser, has been given an eight-month suspended jail sentence.

City Council officials said Jackson Rowsell, 19, of St Faiths Road, charged the 13-year-old girl £20 for the tattoo which he did in his bedroom last April. The distraught girl has now had to undergo HIV and hepatitis tests.

The schoolgirl had gone to Rowsell with a 16-year-old friend after she had seen a post advertising his services on Facebook.

Rowsell, who was 18 at the time, was prosecuted by Portsmouth City Council after its environmental health team were tipped off by a properly-registered tattoo artist.

He pleaded guilty to causing actual bodily harm, tattooing a minor, unlicensed tattooing and tattooing on unlicensed premises. He was sentenced at Portsmouth Crown Court to the jail term, suspended for two years, told to pay £300 compensation to his victim, £100 costs and a £100 victim surcharge. He was also ordered to do 120 hours' community service.

A Portsmouth City Council spokesman said:

``The victim, whom the court ordered cannot be identified, said in a statement that she had wanted a tattoo but had agreed with her mother to wait until she was older.

``She made a spur of the moment decision to go to Rowsell's home in a taxi, after contacting him through Facebook. She said he tattooed her despite being told her age and that she did not have her parents' permission. Before tattooing her he sprayed her skin with what appeared to be Jack Daniels whiskey.

``The resulting design 'looked awful and amateurish', she said, and the experience left her frightened that she had contracted a disease. She needed monthly blood tests and injections in case of infection, before eventually getting an all-clear.''

She said: ``I'm very upset about what has happened, partly because the tattoo is awful but mainly because of the worry it has caused all my family. I am really scared that I may have caught something from a dirty needle.''

After the tattoo she would cry herself to sleep, her mother said in her statement.

Steve Bell, environmental health team leader at the council, said:

``This case shows just how important it is to use a proper tattooist who is registered with the council.

``A registered tattooist has to undergo hygiene checks and knows the law - for example, that it's illegal to tattoo under-18s.  And as the victim in this case found out, a dodgy tattooist is also likely to do a sloppy job on the design.''

Councillor Robert New, Cabinet Member for Environment and Community Safety, said:

``This is a great result for our environmental health team, who work hard to protect the public from dodgy tattooists.  It's also a warning to the public. They should always ask to see a tattooist's certificate of registration with Portsmouth City Council.''