A 27-year-old British man has been sentenced to life in prison for intentionally transmitting HIV to men he met on Grindr.
Daryll Rowe reportedly told his partners he was HIV-negative and insisted on having unprotected sex. If they refused to be intimate without a condom, he would poke a hole in one before using it. Rowe, a hairdresser, would then send the men messages revealing he was HIV-positive, mockingly warning them they were now at risk for the virus.
Police have been able to track down at least ten victims. One told the court he received a text from Rowe that read, “Maybe you have the fever. I came inside you and I have HIV. LOL. Oops!”
Another received a phone call in which Rowe admitted, “I ripped the condom. You’re so stupid, you didn’t even know.”
In a YouTube video from 2015, Rowe announced he was vegan and “very passionate about treating my body well.”
In November, a jury convicted him of five counts of grievous bodily harm with intent and an additional five counts of attempted grievous bodily harm. He is the first man in the U.K. to be found guilty of intentionally spreading HIV. Sussex Police Detective Andy Wolstenholme said the sentence was “hugely important for Rowe’s victims, and the communities that he deliberately targeted.”
“Daryll Rowe was consistent in lying to his victims about having HIV, he was persistent and aggressive in wanting unprotected sex in order to infect people, and when he didn’t get what he wanted, he deliberately damaged condoms to achieve his aim.”
At sentencing, Judge Christine Henson told Rowe, “The messages you sent make it crystal clear you knew exactly what you were doing.”
She added that his life sentence “is not about stigmatizing anyone living with HIV.”