A man has been convicted of purposely trying to infect 10 men with HIV in a ‘campaign’ to infect as many men as possible.
A 27 year old man, was convicted at Lewes Crown Court of five counts of GBH and five counts of attempted GBH after it was revealed that he had purposely infected five men with HIV after he had unprotected sex with and sabotaged the condoms of five others.
The jury of seven women and five men found him guilty after 18 hours of deliberation. Rowe showed no emotion and was told that he must serve at least 12 years for the “determined, hateful campaign of sly violence” during a sentencing hearing at Lewes Crown Court.
The man, who is originally from Edinburgh, began his ‘campaign’ in the Brighton area in October 2015. He had sexual relations with eight men that he met on the ‘Grindr’ app and neglected to inform them that he was HIV positive until afterwards, when he sent his dates taunting text messages.
One message read; ‘I have HIV. Lol. Whoops!’. He also allegedly took pleasure in revealing his HIV status, saying he was ‘riddled’ with the disease and laughed on the phone when he told one of his dates, saying; ‘Burn. I got you’.
One victim likened the situation to being raped;
“It's a violation. I could only describe it as feeling like you've been raped, not the physical side of it, but the mental side”.
The perpetrator was first diagnosed as HIV positive in April 2015. He raised the concerns of his doctors when he stopped attending his appointments and refused antiretroviral treatments which would have made him less contagious.
When he was first arrested in February 2016 he denied having the virus. The police then issued a public health warning which asked men who had sex with a man matching the description of the perpetrator to come forward and contact the authorities. The perpetrator went on the run in November 2016, he went by a false name and attempted to infect another two men with the virus. When the police finally caught and arrested him they found that he had a rucksack filled with sabotaged condoms.
In court, he claimed not to remember ever sending a text saying ‘I have HIV’. Caroline Carberry QC, prosecuting, noted how ‘convenient’ it was that he could not remember sending such a damning message and called him a ‘comfortable liar’.
It is the first case in the UK of a person being convicted for intentionally harming other with HIV and setting out to spread the virus, prior to this, all UK convictions have been for ‘reckless transmission.’
Rubin Italia, Director of Crime at Duncan Lewis states,
“This is the first case of its type. The sentence is clearly a deterrent one and reflects how the law can change to take into account changing circumstances as the “normal” type of circumstances that are seen for the purposes of S18 tend to be wounds inflicted by knives or broken or fractured bones. These sorts of cases tend to be more clear cut and often self defence is a defence that is used. However under these circumstances an individual would be limited to what he could say. The gay community should be alive to such predatory individuals but an added difficulty could have been, had the man stayed silent, I suspect he may have never been caught!”
Rubin Italia is Director of Duncan Lewis’ Crime department in Harrow. For specialist advice please call Rubin on 020 3114 1129 or email him on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rubin has extensive criminal defence experience means he is considered a key contact for many criminal matters and he has been involved in a wealth of criminal areas, from counter-terrorism, to the London Riots, to serious drug offences. Rubin is ranked in the Chambers and Partners 2017/18 guide and listed as a Recommended Lawyer in the Legal 500 2017 Edition.
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