Saturday 21 October 2017

Hairdresser accused of infecting lovers with HIV told one 'I got you', court hears

Daryll Rowe, who is charged with infecting four men with HIV, and of attempting to infect a further six Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
Daryll Rowe, who is charged with infecting four men with HIV, and of attempting to infect a further six Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Sally Wardle

A hairdresser accused of deliberately infecting his lovers with HIV told one of them "I got you" after they had sex, a court has heard.

Daryll Rowe (26) allegedly bombarded his second victim with messages and calls after they met up and slept together through gay dating app Grindr.

During one call, the defendant said to the complainant, "I ripped the condom. Burn. I got you", the jury at Lewes Crown Court was told.

Rowe, who is originally from Edinburgh, is accused of demanding unprotected sex with his partners, claiming to be free of the virus or of tampering with the condom when they insisted he used one.

He denies infecting four men with the virus and attempting to infect a further six between October 2015 and December 2016.

The second complainant, an American, told how the pair exchanged explicit images on Grindr on November 13 2015 as he gave evidence from behind a screen.

Rowe told him he wanted "bareback sex" - intercourse without a condom - but the complainant said "that's not what I do", the court heard.

When they later met at the complainant's home, he was forced to push Rowe off when he tried to penetrate him while not wearing a condom and made him put one on.

Prosecutor Caroline Carberry QC said: "You told the police that he said, 'Come on, come on, I'm fine, you know you want it'."

The complainant replied: "Yes, he did."

Ms Carberry said: "What did you take 'I'm fine' to mean?"

He said: "That he was clean. That he had no diseases."

The complainant blocked Rowe from several platforms after he began sending aggressive messages but on November 17 the defendant began repeatedly calling him, the court heard.

He allegedly said: "I ripped the condom. Burn. I got you".

Giving evidence, the complainant told the court: "I basically said to him 'Why would you say something like that?'

"That's a really crazy thing to say to somebody and then I just got worried, so I wanted to listen to what he had to say and that was it. It was just panic. Worry."

Asked about the tone of Rowe's voice, he said: "He was kind of laughing."

He tested positive for HIV a few months later.

Rowe was "determined" not to use condoms but "adamant" he was completely free of infection when he engaged in unprotected sex with a third complainant, the jury heard.

The pair spoke for several weeks on Grindr before meeting in person on December 1, 2015.

In a police interview played to court, the alleged victim said: "We had a discussion, if we were to have sex would there be protection and anything else.

"He seemed quite determined that he wasn't a fan of condoms and he did not like wearing protection.

"I didn't feel at the time that there was any particular risk and he seemed quite adamant and determined that he was tested, and he was completely clean."

Giving evidence from behind a screen, he said he had initially questioned why he would not wear a condom but agreed to have unprotected sex.

He told the court: "I did not oppose it after I had checked that he was clean and I trusted the fact that he was."

The complainant, who tested positive for HIV in February last year, said in his police interview of May last year there was "social stigma" around those with the infection.

He added: "As of yet, I have not been able to tell anyone including my family about my diagnosis and, to be honest, I'm not sure I could."

The court previously heard that Rowe's first alleged victim received a message which read: "Maybe you have the fever. I came inside you and I have HIV LOL. Oops!"

Rowe was living and working in the Brighton area at the time of the first eight alleged offences before fleeing to the North East while he was under investigation, where he is accused of trying to infect two more men.

He was diagnosed with HIV in April 2015 while he was still living in Edinburgh after a sexual health clinic contacted him to tell him a former partner was infected, the court has heard.

The trial, which is expected to last six weeks, will continue on Wednesday at 10.30am.

Press Association

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