Daryll Rowe jailed for life after being found guilty of deliberately infecting men with HIV
Daryll Rowe, who gave five men HIV and tried to infect five more by sabotaging their condoms, has been jailed for life.
The hairdresser will serve a minimum term of 12 years after being sentenced on Wednesday for crimes committed between October 2015 and December 2016.
Rowe, 27, of Brighton, was found guilty in November of all the charges presented at Lewes Crown Court during a six-week trial.
The court heard how he insisted on unprotected sex with his partners, many of whom he met on Grindr, and intentionally damaged the condoms of men who refused.
While sentencing Rowe, Judge Christine Henson QC said: “The messages you sent make it crystal clear you knew exactly what you were doing.
“As well as the physical offences, it is clear, for the victims, the psychological effects are immense.
“I cannot see how and when you will no longer be a danger to gay men.”
During the trial, 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.
He told one victim, who was later diagnosed as HIV-positive, “Maybe you have the fever… I have HIV LOL.”
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.
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“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 was convicted of five counts of causing GBH, and five of attempted GBH.