A man deliberately tried to infect ten sexual partners with HIV by sabotaging condoms, a court has heard.
Daryll Rowe, from Edinburgh, is accused of infecting partners he met on Grindr with HIV after allegedly “tampering with the condoms” during sex.
It’s claimed the 26-year-old insisted on unprotected sex with his partners, claiming to be free of the virus, then tampered with the condom when they insisted he used them.
A court was told that he later sent mocking text messages telling his partners he was HIV positive and that they could be at risk, Lewes crown court was told.
One received a text saying: “Maybe you have the fever. I came inside you and I have HIV LOL. Oops!”
Rowe is charged with infecting four men with the virus and attempting to infect a further six between October 2015 and December 2016.
Rowe, who is HIV-positive, denies all the charges against him.
Intentionally infecting someone with HIV is classified as GBH, and can be punishable with up to life imprisonment.
If an HIV-positive person is receiving treatment and the virus is at ‘undetectable’ levels in their system, then they cannot pass HIV on to others.
Prosecutor Caroline Carberry QC described his alleged crimes as “a cynical and deliberate campaign to infect other men with HIV”.
He was originally diagnosed with HIV in April 2015, while living in Edinburgh, after a sexual health clinic informed him that a former partner had the virus.
Doctors said he was coping well with the diagnosis, but became concerned when he refused antiretroviral drugs that can make those infected person less contagious, jurors heard.
“He was warned he could be prosecuted for passing [HIV] on or even putting someone at risk of contracting HIV from him,” Carberry told the court, according to The Guardian.
“He told his doctors he was not going to engage in any unprotected sex again, but failed to attend further appointments in Edinburgh and by this time he had moved to Brighton.
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“He had no obvious family or other connections in the area, although he had been in communication online on a dating app, Grindr, with a number of men.
“Through Grindr, the prosecution say, he was in contact with men that he would later go on to infect or attempt to affect with HIV.”
The court heard that one partner tested negative for HIV on the day they had sex with Rowe, and did not have sex again for two months.
He was later diagnosed as HIV-positive.
In a phone call to another partner, who had insisted he use a condom, Rowe allegedly said: “I ripped the condom. You’re so stupid. You didn’t even know.”
The trial was originally delayed after a judge granted all alleged victims anonymity in the case.
Anonymity is not automatically given to victims of GBH, meaning Judge Christine Henson had to step in to protect the alleged victims.
The trial continues and is expected to last six weeks.