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Mark Anthony Cropp told a judge today he wants to clean up from methamphetamine, get his tattoo removed by laser treatment, and turn his life around for his kids.
Cropp, better known as "Devast8", a nickname inked onto his face in a tattoo that stretches from ear to ear, was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment for a raft of offending at the district court in Christchurch on Wednesday.
He's been in custody awaiting sentence on charges of male assaults female, presenting an imitation pistol, intimidating behaviour, breach of a protection order, caught carrying a meat cleaver "for protection" and a cannabis grinder.
A candid Cropp told Judge David Saunders that he was bashed by five gang members while in jail. It has left him with blindness in his left eye and two fractured ribs.
Asked what triggered the attack, Cropp said it came after a gang member took a photo of a family member and disrespected it.
The judge also enquired about his facial tattoo.
"It's just my nickname," Cropp said.
He was 17 years old and drunk on homebrew and pills in a prison cell with his tattooed brother when he decided to get it done, he explained.
"I thought it would be cool. I looked up to my brother."
A sobbing Cropp said he's looking at laser removal and is talking with an Auckland tattoo removal studio for help.
Judge Saunders said he's "certainly made a statement" by the tattoo but urged him to get it removed, for the sake of his children and in trying to get a new job.
The 21-year-old first made headlines when he spoke to the New Zealand Herald in 2017 about struggling to find a job because of the extensive homemade tattoo - which he said was inked by his brother during a night of heavy drinking in jail.
When released, he said he wanted to get off the unemployment benefit, get a job and put food on the table for his family.
But he struggled, he said, because of the significant tattoo.
Earlier this year, Cropp admitted that on April 15, while a protection order was in force against him, he went on to property occupied by a protected person.
Earlier this year, he admitted a charge of presenting an imitation firearm on June 14, 2018, as well as charges of possessing an offensive weapon and cannabis utensils.
He's been in custody since May 16.
Today's sentence means he will soon be released due to time served. He will be subject to six months of release conditions.
Cropp did not want to he photographed in court this afternoon, claiming that further publication will continue to dog him. He wants to move on with his life, he says.
Judge Saunders declined in-court media applications to photograph him, citing the fact there are many photographs of him already in the public domain.