• 22:39
  • 23.08.2017
Tatt man’s drastic transformation

Tatt man’s drastic transformation

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It's an innocent, somewhat goofy face that you would pass in the street without thinking twice.
This is unemployed New Zealander Mark Cropp’s face before his infamous jail inking that left “DEVAST8” on his chin and made world headlines.
As Cropp, 19, considers job offers flooding in since he went public with the tattoo that now makes him a national landmark, pictures have emerged of what he used to look like.
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Sporting a somewhat long chin, but with smooth skin and something of a baby face, the slightly younger Mark looks nothing like the man with the fearsome bikie-style face tatt.
Cropp has knocked back dozens of job offers following his declaration that the only thing stopping him from working was the tattoo inked on his face while he was drunk in a prison cell.
He was in prison for pulling a knife on a tourist who reneged on agreement to buy Cropp’s marijuana.
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Cropp pleaded guilty in the Nelson District Court to charges of aggravated robbery, escaping custody, assault with a weapon, intentional damage, breach of community work and theft.
He said he committed the crime to get enough money to help house him and his pregnant girlfriend after they were kicked out of his parents’ home.
“My partner Taneia was just a month due to drop my baby, and we had nowhere to go so I committed the crime — and I never got to see (the baby) again,” he said.
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Getting drunk on home-brew in an Otago prison, he got his cellmate to spend a night tattooing half his face with the word “DEVAST8”, his street name.
The tattoo covered his face like a beard.
Cropp has since said he was in and out of state-supported Child Youth and Family care (CYF) since the age of six, and kicked out of school aged 11.
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“Part of the reason why I am who I am is that I grew up without my parents, I grew up with drugs and alcohol around, and became a criminal,” he said. “But going to jail gave me a wake-up call.”
While serving his two-year jail sentence in Otago Correction Facility, Cropp said he was put in the same cell as his brother.
Late last year, he said they decided he should get a new facial tattoo after Cropp started getting trouble from other inmates.
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“I was going through a rough patch, of quite a lot of people hating on me, trying to bully me,” he said. “Part of jail life, you get people with tattoos and you look at them, step back, ‘Watch out for that guy’ sort of thing.
“It’s my nickname, it’s not gang-affiliated.”
The tattoo was “only supposed to be a little one along the jawline” but “that all went out the window when we had a bit too much to drink inside”.
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Cropp said he had been drinking home-brew, made from fermented apples, sugar and bread.
“I drunk it and before I knew it I had this on my face ... It was swollen like a bloody pumpkin,” he said.
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