Two torturers are starting life sentences after a murder victim was forced to eat his own testicle during a violent campaign in the weeks before his death.
James Prout, who was known as "Jimmy", suffered a series of beatings and indignities, which included him being forced to have sex with a dog and having his scrotum sliced open before being forced to swallow one of his testicles, which his attackers had boiled in water.
The dad-of-two suffered broken bones and had teeth removed with a hammer and chisel during at least four episodes of violence in the build-up to his death in February last year.
A judge described the treatment of him by his attackers as "inhuman" and said words cannot do justice to the ordeal he endured.
Newcastle Crown Court heard when the vulnerable 45-year-old died, his body was dumped on wasteland near the A187 in North Tyneside, where it lay decomposing for six weeks and was partially eaten by animals.
Prosecutors said the treatment he suffered at the hands of his killers was something that "belongs in the dark ages, not in the 21st century".
Paul Greaney QC told the court Mr Prout fell prey to a "cultish" group which was under the control of Zahid Zaman, 43, a wheelchair user who claimed to have been seriously injured in a road accident, but prosecutors say was "physically capable" and able to carry out assaults.
The prosecutor said Zaman's former partner Kay Rayworth, who was a divorced carer he met over a dating site, his then-partner Myra Wood, 50, who was a cleaner he met over Facebook, and Prout's girlfriend Ann Corbett, 26, all played a part in his humiliation, torture and death.
After a trial by jury, Zaman and Corbett were found guilty of Mr Prout's murder and have both been given life sentences.
Mr Justice Dove said Zaman, who he branded an "evil, vindictive man", must serve a minimum of 33 years before he can apply for parole, and Corbett must serve 27.
Rayworth and Wood were convicted of causing or allowing Mr Prout's death, but cleared of his murder.
Rayworth was sentenced to 12 years and four months behind bars, and Wood was sentenced to nine years.
All four had previously pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice.
The judge said: "No reasonable person could learn what happened to Jimmy Prout in the months leading up to his death and not feel shocked and appalled that anyone could be treated with such vicious cruelty and inhumanity.
"What he suffered before he died is beyond imagining. Anyone who treated an animal in the way Jimmy was treated would, rightly, be regarded with disgust and contempt."
The judge said Mr Prout's "spirit was completely broken" by his ordeal and his body was given no chance to heal before it was injured "over and over again".
He added: "I have no doubt the beatings and mistreatment were repeated day after day, week after week, month after month left Jimmy Prout living in constant fear of the unremitting bullying and assaults he received."
The judge said Mr Prout's injuries were "disgusting, vile and designed to insult and humiliate him".
The court heard Zaman lived with Rayworth in one property and the other defendants, together with Mr Prout, in another, all in St. Stephen's Way, North Shields, but they all spent time together.
After tragic Mr Prout died from his catalogue of injuries and his body was dumped in sleeping bags on wasteland, Rayworth and Corbett, acting under orders of Zaman, went back to the corpse to collect his bank card, so the group could "fleece" him out of hundreds of pounds in cash from his account.
The court heard Zaman may have believed Mr Prout had been involved in the theft of some money from him in the weeks leading up to the beatings, but the exact motivation behind the murder remains unclear.