The trial of a man accused of castrating eight other men, and causing the death of one of them, began in a Munich court on Thursday.

The name of the 66-year-old electrician from Markt Schwaben in Bavaria is being withheld on privacy grounds.

He told police that he had been advertising sexual services on specialist sado-masochism websites in order to pay off his debts.

Later, it’s been alleged, the man expanded his operation – convincing his clients that he had medical training and castrating, or partially castrating, at least eight of them.

He admitted to performing the illegal operations between July 2018 and March 2020 but denied responsibility for the death of one patient who died around a week after being castrated.

German police said they found the dead man’s body "in a box" around three weeks after his death.

As yet, prosecutors have charged the defendant with homicide by omission, saying he failed to get professional medical help for the man who died, as well as with serious and dangerous bodily harm in the case of the other patients.

Castration is surprisingly popular. Two men were arrested last October performing unlicensed surgery on a 28-year-old man who had contacted them via a website called "Eunuchmaker".

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In July this year, a Florida man was arrested after a botched castration left a patient bleeding heavily and needing emergency treatment.

And in the same month, an Australian electrician found himself in court after castrating several men despite having no medical qualifications beyond a first-aid certificate.

It’s a dangerous and irreversible procedure, but it may not be without its benefits. At least for sheep.

A study, conducted by the University of Otago in New Zealand, found that castrated sheep had DNA that aged a lot slower than their intact counterparts as the male hormone tended to accelerate biological ageing.

Epigeneticist Victoria Sugrue found that the DNA of castrated males aged at a similar pace to that of female sheep.

There’s a suggestion that the same may be true for humans as well.

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