A hairdresser deliberately infected four men he met through Grindr with HIV before sending them ‘mocking and abusive’ texts, a court has heard.
Daryll Rowe who is gay, is accused of giving four men the virus, and of attempting to infect a further six between October 2015 and December 2016.
After contacting them on the app they would have sex, but in each case he either refused to wear a condom during sex or ‘sabotaged’ it shortly before intercourse took place.
One of the texts the 26-year-old allegedly sent said: ‘Maybe you have the fever cos I came inside you and I have HIV, lol. Whoops!’
Rowe appeared at Lewes Crown Court last week charged with four counts of causing grievous bodily harm and six counts of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm.
Rowe, who is originally from Edinburgh and appeared in court and denied all charges.
The men he had sex with are unable to be named for legal reasons.
Caroline Carberry, prosecuting, said Rowe was diagnosed HIV positive in Edinburgh in April 2015 and had initially been taking retroviral drugs to inhibit the virus.
The treatment helps ensure HIV cannot damage the immune system and should mean the likelihood of transmitting the disease is extremely low.
But Rowe had stopped taking retroviral drugs and also suffered herpes, which increases the chance of infection, the jury was told.
Shortly after his diagnosis Rowe, who had also been infected during a casual hook-up, moved to Brighton, East Sussex.
Although he initially had nowhere to live or stay he began to make contact with men on the gay dating app, Grindr.
Rowe would exchange a series of messages with the men before meeting up with them at their homes where they would have sex.
Miss Carberry said: ‘Daryll Rowe embarked on a cynical and deliberate campaign to infect other men with HIV, having high risk sexual intercourse knowing he was highly infectious.
‘Unfortunately for many of the men he met his campaign was successful. He deceived those men into believing he was HIV negative, reassuring those he was intimate with.’
She said he declined to use condoms and if his victims insisted he wear one he would then ‘sabotage’ the contraception.
The court heard that days after having sex with a number of men he goaded them by telling them he had HIV.
He would incessantly message and call them and leave abusive and insulting messages for them.
In one message he told a victim: ‘I ripped the condom. You’re so stupid. You didn’t even know.’
The court heard he then repeated the abuse when he called the victim and laughed out loud down the phone.
The victim then tested positive for HIV which showed he had a strain of the virus similar to that suffered by Rowe.
One victim, who was sexually inexperienced, only found out he had HIV when he began to feel feverish and ill.
Another had sex with Rowe but insisted he wear a condom only later to discover the condom in the bathroom sink with the end of ripped off.
Miss Carberry said: ‘He was extremely concerned and upset about this and repeatedly asked Daryll Rowe whether he was clean which he said he was. That condom did not split accidentally.’
Rowe’s tenth victim, in whose house he was staying when he arrested in Newcastle in December last year, gave police a bag which contained his belongings including a box of ripped condoms.
‘The condoms were in wrappers and the wrappers had already been opened,’ she explained.
‘The condoms inside had been sabotaged.
‘The nipple end was missing, the the condoms had been fully broken, pushed back inside their wrappers and back into the box.
‘If the aim of a condom is to prevent semen entering the anus or vagina during intercourse, thereby providing reassurance the other party is safe, the only reason a pre-ripped condom is used is to coerce another into having unprotected sexual intercourse.’
Sussex Police were contacted in February 2016 and had diagnosed two men as HIV positive who had described having intercourse with a man with a Scottish accent.
He was bailed to an address in Berwick, Northumberland and by the time of the second interview a number of other alleged victims had come forward.
Rowe was bailed again but he went missing and a manhunt was launched to track him down and he was eventually arrested in Wallsend where he was using a false name.
The case, which is due to last six weeks, continues.