Thursday 22 August 2019

Hairdresser guilty of trying to infect men with HIV is a 'sociopath', victim claims

Daryll Rowe (26) who has been found guilty of ten charges of deliberately trying to infect men he met on Grindr with HIV in Brighton, East Sussex and the North East (Press Association)
Daryll Rowe (26) who has been found guilty of ten charges of deliberately trying to infect men he met on Grindr with HIV in Brighton, East Sussex and the North East (Press Association)

Flora Thompson

One of the men who a hairdresser deliberately tried to infect with HIV - along with nine other male lovers - has branded him a "sociopath whose actions were grotesque".

The 42-year-old victim said he was preyed upon by Daryll Rowe, 27, who became the first man in the country to be found guilty of intentionally setting out to spread the virus.

He was convicted of 10 charges - five of grievous bodily harm with intent and five of attempting to do so - at Lewes Crown Court on Wednesday.

The victim who only ever knew Rowe by his alias Gary Cole said he was pleased with the verdicts and said he hoped he would be locked away for life.

Speaking to the Press Association from his home in North Tyneside, he said: "What he has done, it's just grotesque.

"When I found out, it was awful. I almost lost the plot."

The man said he is relieved he has not been diagnosed with HIV after becoming involved with Rowe but fears he is not completely clear of the risk just yet.

The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: "I've taken two tests since we were together but I'm worried that because you have to wait to be tested and the symptoms can appear later on, I could still contract it.

"Knowing what he did to all of those other people is horrific, and that he did infect some of them. I feel lucky but also very sad for them."

He said he felt completely betrayed by Rowe who he met on dating site Plenty Of Fish.

He said: "We talked for a long time.

"I confided in him. He was very charming but quite persistent.

"I have a lot of health problems so I wasn't used to the attention.

"I now feel like he knew exactly what he was doing. He picked me out as someone who was an easy target.

"I never knew the real him at all. He is a sociopath. He needs to be locked up for life."

Read More: Hairdresser found guilty of deliberately trying to infect 10 men he met on Grindr with HIV

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

His six-week trial heard he embarked on a cynical and deliberate campaign to infect men with HIV, refusing treatment and ignoring advice from doctors.

He insisted on having unprotected sex with men, claiming he was "clean". When they refused, he tampered with condoms, tricking them into thinking he was practising safe sex.

Afterwards he would become aggressive and taunt them over text.

He repeatedly lied to police and throughout his evidence during the trial, claiming he thought he was cured and accusing his victims of being untruthful.

After 18 hours of deliberations, the jury of seven women and five men returned unanimous guilty verdicts on four counts and majority verdicts on the further six charges on the indictment.

Rowe, now of no fixed abode but originally from Edinburgh, was remanded in custody until he is sentenced in the new year.

He could face a life sentence with an extended term for being a danger to the public.

The case is the first where prosecutors have successfully been able to prove the intent to infect people with HIV, Sussex Police said.

PA Media

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News