Man who left his tied-up boyfriend to die because he was HIV+, burned his flat down, sentenced to jail

Joseph McCormick June 10, 2016
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A man who set fire to his flat to dispose of his boyfriend’s body, after he tied him up following the news that he was HIV-positive, has been sentenced to nearly 14 years in jail.

Ashley Gillard, 31, was found dead after a fire in the flat in Wolverton, Milton Keynes on 8 June 2015.

The hairdresser’s body had been on the third floor of the block when the blaze started, but had died several days previous, Luton Crown Court heard.


Gillard’s boyfriend, Thomas White, 26, pleaded guilty to manslaughter by gross negligence.

The pair had been having sex with the use of bondage restraints and recreational drugs, when Gillard began to fit.

White left him tied up, knowing that he was fitting, and because “he told me he’d got HIV.”

The court heard White admit to setting fire to the flat despite knowing other lives were put in danger, and in an attempt to hide the evidence of Gillard’s death.

White was jailed for 13 years and nine months, with four years licence once he is released.

Judge Richard Foster, sentencing, told White: “You and Ashley Gillard engaged in sexual activity during the course of which Ashley was tied up. He had taken two types of drugs – Mephedrone and GHB. When the police came to arrest you a few days later what you had to say was captured on body worn audio and visual recorders.

“From this it became clear as to what had actually happened. Ashley Gillard had told you he was HIV positive. Whilst he was tied up he had a fit probably induced by the drugs. You told officers ‘I just sat there and watched him.’”

Luton Crown Court also heard that White had told the police officers: “I didn’t untie him because he was fitting and because he told me he’d got HIV.”

“You intentionally did nothing to help a fellow human being in what was a life threatening situation,” the judge told White.

In the days leading up to the arson attack, after Gillard had died, White had stolen cars and a forklift truck.

He later returned to the flat to set fire to it.

Gillard’s family said they “will be haunted” by his death.

Following Gillard’s death, White also admitted to using the deceased’s mobile phone to respond to messages, in order to make it seem he was still alive.

He had originally been charged with murder, but the prosecution agreed to reduce the charge to manslaughter by gross negligence.

Graham Smith, prosecuting said: “The pathologist was unable to identify a definitive cause of death. He could rule out shooting, stabbing or blunt force trauma, and could confirm the man was dead before the fire was started.”

Mr. Smith said: “The defendant was furious and got into a rage and turned the flat upside down trying to find medications that would confirm what he had been told.

“He was later to tell his brother that he knew his friend needed medical attention but he did not help him, and put a duvet over him to shut him up. He said at that moment he hated him and wished him gone,” he added.

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