Edinburgh hairdresser guilty of infecting 10 Grindr dates with HIV

Lewes Crown Court.
Lewes Crown Court.
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A hairdresser has been found guilty of deliberately trying to infect 10 men with HIV after meeting them on Grindr.

Daryll Rowe, 27, was convicted of five counts of grievous bodily harm with intent and five counts of attempting to do so at Lewes Crown Court this afternoon.

The jury of seven women and five men returned its verdict after 18 hours deliberating.

The court was silent and Mr Rowe, originally from Edinburgh, sat motionless as the verdicts were announced just before 4pm.

Initially four unanimous verdicts – three of grievous bodily harm with intent and one of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm – were returned.

The court heard Mr Rowe moved to Brighton, where he met eight of his alleged victims, shortly after being diagnosed with the virus in Edinburgh in April 2015.

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Judge Christine Henson QC asked the jury to retire to continue deliberations after the foreman said they had been unable to all agree on verdicts for the remaining six counts.

Moments later, the dozen returned to court to find Mr Rowe guilty by majority verdicts of 11 to one of all the other counts he faced – two of grievous bodily harm with intent and four of attempting to do so.

The court earlier heard how Mr Rowe taunted his victims, becoming abusive and aggressive after they had sex.

It was said he “played” with some of them who quizzed him when they grew anxious about his HIV status and called them over dramatic and paranoid.

One of the men tested negative for HIV on the morning he had sex with Mr Rowe and was not involved with anyone again until he tested positive two months later.

Another, who gave evidence from Australia, described how he had “let his guard down” with Mr Rowe and had been “lulled” into a “false sense of security”.

The hairdresser told his first victim in a text that “I have HIV. Lol. Whoops!” after they had sex.

Prosecutor Caroline Carberry QC said it was “convenient” he “could not remember” sending the “damning text” and branded him a “comfortable liar”.

The court heard he was “laughing” when he called his second victim, who also tested positive for HIV after they met, a “stupid American”, adding: “Burn. I got you.”

Mr Rowe badgered the man with phone calls and seemed to be proud of what he had done, the victim said.

Mr Rowe deliberately injured another man while having sex in a bid to transmit the virus, the court heard.

He even boasted he was “riddled with diseases” when another victim found a broken condom in the sink after their encounter.

Mr Rowe, who turned 27 part way through the six-week trial, told an Aids and HIV charity worker, who was diagnosed after they were involved, that “moaning” would not cure him.

The volunteer had never had unprotected sex and had tests every six months.

He said he made sure Rowe wore a condom, but then was diagnosed with the virus so believed it was tampered with or taken off during sex.

The victim described the news of his diagnosis as like being “hit by a bus”, adding: “You feel like your life is over. You feel like you should go to a high place and jump.”

Despite his status, Mr Rowe kept demanding to meet for “raw” sex and told him he would “rape” him next time they met.

The string of explicit messages, which demonstrated Mr Rowe had a detailed knowledge of the disease and its treatments, made the victim suspicious.

Mr Rowe even nursed one of his later victims who fell ill with the symptoms of HIV.

When Mr Rowe fled to the North-East, he briefly lived with his last two victims and stole valuables from them both.

But again one of the relationships turned sour as Mr Rowe grew jealous and controlling. He stormed out after his latest victim spent too long chatting to a flat mate, taking £60 of his money.

Afterwards he sent a string of abusive messages, including: “You’re never going to get a guy like me again.”

Another read: “You’re a typical sassy, queeny, stupid little air hostess.”

The victim tested positive after seeing the police alert for anyone who had slept with a young Scottish man to seek medical advice.

All of the victims’ identities are protected by law.

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