A man who boasted he was “riddled” with HIV was jailed after being found guilty of intentionally infecting his sexual partners in a landmark court ruling.
Daryll Rowe, 27, was convicted on five counts of Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH) for infecting five gay partners and five counts of attempted GBH for attempting to infect five others. He was sentenced to ‘life’ imprisonment at Brighton Crown Court but will be eligible for parole after a minimum term of 12 years, reports the BBC.
After being diagnosed with HIV in 2015, the hairdresser moved from Edinburgh to Brighton, which has a large gay community, and went on a targetted, “deliberate campaign” to have unprotected sex with men he met on gay hook-up app Grindr.
Rowe had sex with eight men in the southern coastal town between October 2015 and February 2016. He then went on the run from police after being released on bail to Northumberland in the North East, going on to target two other men.
Claiming that he was “clean” he convinced some victims to have intercourse without protection. But when sexual partners insisted on using protection, he intentionally used his own condoms that he had tampered with beforehand in his planned efforts to pass on the incurable virus.
After having sex with the men, he would send them taunting, mocking text messages including, “I have HIV LOL. Oops.” and “I’m riddled”.
— Thomas D. Williams (@tdwilliamsrome) October 9, 2017
Though he was convicted under laws on GBH that goes back to 1861, it is the first time the law was used to convict someone for intentionally or attempting to intentionally infect others with HIV/AIDS in England.
“You are the first individual to be sentenced for Section 18 offences in the context of infecting others with HIV,” sentencing Judge Christine Henson QC said.
“With the full knowledge of the risk you posed to others and the legal implications of engaging in risky sexual practices, you embarked on a deliberate campaign to infect other men with the HIV virus.
“Unfortunately for five of the men you met your campaign was successful.”
“It is clear the psychological effects have been immense,” Judge Henson continued. “Your victims describe living with a life sentence.”
Deliberately exposed victims to HIV https://t.co/3nVP3b3A8w
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 29, 2017
Sussex Police was criticised for releasing Rowe on bail, which allowed him to continue his campaign to infect men. Police had only spoken to two of the eight Brighton victims before releasing Rowe.
The 42-year-old final victim is considering taking legal action against the force, saying that police had put him and others at risk.
The force was also criticised for failing to release Rowe’s name or pictures to the public once he had absconded. Police left it 18 days after his arrest before appealing to gay men to get tested for HIV if they had been sexually involved with “a man in his 20s with a Scottish accent”.
It was not until local media published his details that victims and potential victims were aware of Rowe’s identity.