A hairdresser handed a life sentence for deliberately trying to infect 10 men with HIV has been branded a “menace to society” by his final victim.
Daryll Rowe (27), was told he must serve at least 12 years in jail after he became the first man in UK to be found guilty of intentionally setting out to spread the virus.
Speaking to the Press Association following the sentence, his final victim, who was not infected, revealed Rowe had told him he was bisexual.
The victim said: “As long as he has strength in his body, he will be a risk. He is a menace to society. He is a sociopath because I don’t think he has any regard for other people’s feelings.”
Rowe's six-week trial heard he launched a deliberate campaign to infect gay men he met on dating app Grindr after being diagnosed in April 2015 in his home city of Edinburgh, refusing treatment and ignoring advice from doctors.
He had sex with eight of them in Brighton, East Sussex, between October that year and February 2016, before fleeing to the northeast where he went on the run from police, targeting two more victims.
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 by text, telling one: “I have HIV. Lol. Whoops!”
Rowe told jurors he believed he had been cured of the virus by the time he moved to Brighton, having adopted the practice of drinking his own urine as a treatment, supplemented with natural remedies, including oregano, coconut and olive leaf oils.
But he was convicted of 10 charges – five of causing grievous bodily harm with intent and five of attempting to do so.
Sentencing him at Brighton Crown Court on Wednesday, Judge Christine Henson QC said: "Given the facts of this case and your permissive predatory behaviour, I cannot see when you would no longer be a danger to gay men."
Rowe, wearing a grey suit and open-collared white shirt, showed no emotion as statements from nine of his 10 victims were read out.
“They describe living with a life sentence as a result of your cruel and senseless acts,” said the judge. “Many of those men were young men in their 20s at the time they had the misfortune to meet you.”
Victims told how they had considered suicide having suffered physical and psychological damage, needing to take daily medication.
Rowe’s first victim, who was diagnosed with HIV in January 2016, said: “Daryll has destroyed my life. I would rather he had murdered me than left me to live my life like this.”
Another, whose parents died of Aids when he was a child, said he “did everything” to prevent himself catching the virus.
“Daryll Rowe decided to take that right away from me. A part of me died that day when I was diagnosed. The old me is no longer. The new me is constantly sad, thinking about how my life changed.
“I have been devastated by Rowe’s actions but I want to make sure that this doesn’t happen to anyone else.” – Press Association