Beds, Herts & Bucks

Milton Keynes flat fire death: Man jailed for 'HIV admission' killing

Ashley Gillard Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption Ashley Gillard worked as a hairdresser in Wolverton

A man who admitted killing his partner and setting fire to his flat after learning he was HIV positive has been sentenced to 13 years, nine months.

Hairdresser Ashley Gillard, 31, was discovered after the blaze in the third-floor property in Wolverton, Milton Keynes on 8 June.

Thomas White, 26, pleaded guilty to manslaughter by gross negligence.

Luton Crown Court also heard White admit to arson being reckless as to whether other lives were endangered.

He was told he would be jailed for nine years and nine months and be on licence for four years following his release.

Image copyright Thames Valley Police
Image caption Ashley Gillard was found dead at the third-floor riverside flat in Wolverton in the early hours of 9 June

White, of Bibury Close, Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, also admitted charges of theft and fraud, and two charges of taking vehicles without authority.

Passing sentence, Judge Richard Foster told him: "You and Ashley Gillard engaged in sexual activity during the course of which Ashley was tied up. He had taken... drugs. 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.

"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'."

The court heard White also told the officers: "I didn't untie him because he was fitting and because he told me he'd got HIV."

Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption The court heard Thomas White stole cars and a forklift truck in the days between the killing and setting fire to the flat

The court heard White "flew into a rage", before returning to the flat several days later in an attempt to destroy any evidence of the killing.

His barrister Amjad Malik QC said it was a cocktail of drugs taken by Mr Gillard that had led to the seizure.

Mr Malik told the court the news that Mr Gillard was HIV was a "massively provocative piece of information" for White who had been having sex with him for months.

"He failed to act because of anger. He didn't want him to die," Mr Malik argued.

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