Daryll Rowe found guilty of intentionally infecting 10 men with HIV
A hairdresser has been found guilty of infecting four men with HIV and trying to infect six more between October 2015 and December 2016.
Daryll Rowe, 27, was found guilty of all the charges presented at Lewes Crown Court after a six-week trial.
He insisted on unprotected sex with his partners, many of whom he met on Grindr, or sabotaged the condoms of men who refused.
One victim told of how Rowe bullied and threatened him into having bareback sex, before sending flippant texts revealing he was HIV-positive.
He told one victim, who was later diagnosed as HIV-positive, “Maybe you have the fever… I have HIV LOL.”
Prosecutor Caroline Carberry QC described his crimes as “a cynical and deliberate campaign to infect other men with HIV”.
During the trial, the court was told that Rowe sent mocking text messages telling partners he was HIV-positive and that they could be at risk.
One received a text saying: “Maybe you have the fever. I came inside you and I have HIV LOL. Oops!”
In a phone call to one partner, who had insisted they use a condom, Rowe told him: “I ripped the condom. You’re so stupid. You didn’t even know.”
Another victim said he was pressured into bareback sex outdoors and feared Rowe would attack him.
Rowe was originally diagnosed as HIV-positive 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 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,” prosecutors told the court.
Rowe refused to take HIV medication prescribed, meaning he was able to infect others with the virus.
People with HIV who take appropriate medication have an undetectable viral load and cannot infect others.
The court heard that Rowe believed he could cure himself of HIV by drinking his own urine and keeping to a vegan diet.
He frequently used Grindr to meet men, often insisting on unprotected penetrative sex.
In a taped police interview, one victim said: “He asked for sex and I gave him oral sex. He asked for more and I said no, and he started to get angry.
“I was saying: ‘I don’t really want to do it. It’s horrible to do it in a car in the middle of nowhere.’ I was getting angry.
“It was horrible really – I just felt like I had to do it.”
Rowe and the victim then went on to have unprotected anal sex outdoors, which ended when it was interrupted by a passing cyclist.
Rowe subsequently refused to get out of the complainant’s car when he was driven home and tried to bully him into having sex by some bins.
“It felt like an hour with him just going on and on. I felt very vulnerable. I didn’t know anyone around (that area),” the victim said.
“I was thinking this is all going to happen and I’m going to have to go to work tomorrow and explain a black eye.
“He was telling me: ‘This would all be over if you had just done it when I said and we had just carried on.’”
The victim was diagnosed with HIV in January 2016.
Rowe will be sentenced at a later date.