Daryll Rowe jailed for infecting men with HIV

media captionDarryll Rowe told one of his victims 'I got you. Burn, you have it'

A man who said he was "riddled" with HIV and convicted of trying to infect 10 men has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 12 years.

Daryll Rowe, 27, infected five men he had unprotected sex with and sabotaged the condoms of another five in Brighton and Northumberland.

He is the first man in the country to be found guilty of intentionally setting out to spread the virus.

His crimes were branded a "determined hateful campaign of sly violence".

After being diagnosed in April 2015, Rowe met men on the gay dating app Grindr and had sex with eight of them in Brighton between October that year and February 2016, before fleeing to the north east where he went on the run from police, targeting two more men.

He sent mocking messages after sex with some of the men, including "I have HIV LOL. Oops" and "I'm riddled".

image copyrightPA
image captionDarryll Rowe was branded as a "sociopath" by one victim

Sentencing Rowe at Brighton Crown Court, 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.

"They describe living with a life sentence as a result of your cruel and senseless acts. Many of those men were young men in their 20s at the time they had the misfortune to meet you.

"I cannot see how and when you will no longer be a danger to gay men."

She added: "I note that this sentence is not about stigmatising anyone living with HIV."

Rowe, from Brighton, was convicted of five counts of causing grievous bodily harm (GBH) and five of attempted GBH.

During his six-week trial, one man said he felt "pressured" into having sex with the hairdresser.

Another victim branded Rowe as "grotesque" and a "sociopath".

Ahead of sentencing, prosecutor Caroline Carberry QC read out statements from nine of his 10 victims, which she said showed the "devastating consequences" of his actions.

'Horrendous chapter'

Many told how they had considered suicide having suffered physical and psychological damage and needed to take daily medication.

One said: "Darryl has destroyed my life. I would rather he had murdered me than left me to live my life like this."

Another said he found condoms with the tops cut off in the bin, and that it had been "a horrendous chapter" in his life.

A Tyneside man who was in a relationship with Rowe while he was on bail, but was not infected, told BBC Look North: "If you have a dog, and that dog has rabies, and it bites someone, you'd put it down

"That is exactly how I think about him now.

"I think he doesn't deserve to be paid for by the taxpayer for the rest of his life."

Describing his behaviour as "predatory", Judge Henson said Rowe had "emotionally unstable personality traits" but there was insufficient evidence to diagnose a personality disorder.

Det Insp Andy Wolstenholme, of Sussex Police, said the sentence was "hugely important for Rowe's victims, and the communities that he deliberately targeted".

"Daryll Rowe was consistent in lying to his victims about having HIV, he was persistent and aggressive in wanting unprotected sex in order to infect people, and when he didn't get what he wanted, he deliberately damaged condoms to achieve his aim," he said.

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