Before they had sex, Daryll Rowe told his partner that he didn’t have HIV.
But afterward, Rowe sent a text message to that same partner — not only revealing for the first time that Rowe had HIV, but also bragging about the fact that his partner could now have the virus, too.
“Maybe you have the fever,” Rowe, a 26-year-old from Edinburgh, Scotland, wrote in the text. “I have HIV LOL. Oops!”
Rowe has been charged with purposely infecting four men with HIV and trying to pass the virus to six more from October 2015 to December 2016 in Brighton, England, where he subsequently lived, according to The Guardian. He was first arrested by Sussex police in February 2016 after allegedly infecting two men with HIV.
Prosecutor Caroline Carberry has characterized his alleged crime as “a cynical and deliberate campaign to infect other men with HIV.”
Rowe, who worked as a hairdresser, denies the charges.
During a court appearance Thursday, prosecutors said that Rowe met partners on Grindr, a gay dating app, and then would ask them to have unprotected sex with him, telling them he did not have HIV, according to the International Business Times. If his partners insisted on using condoms, Rowe allegedly ripped or tampered with them so they wouldn’t be effective.
And then, later, he would allegedly text or call his sexual partners to mock them.
“I ripped the condom,” he said in a phone call to one partner, the Guardian reports. “You’re so stupid. You didn’t even know.”
One of his partners who testified told the court that he had considered Rowe to be his boyfriend, and had been with only one partner prior.
Rowe learned he had HIV when he lived in Edinburgh in 2015, when a clinic informed him that a sexual partner of his had tested positive for the virus, BBC reports.
Doctors said Rowe had been “coping well” with his HIV status — or at least they thought.
“He told his doctors he was not going to engage in any unprotected sex again, but failed to attend further appointments in Edinburgh and by this time he had moved to Brighton,” Cranberry, the prosecutor in the case, said in court on Thursday, per BBC.
Rowe allegedly moved to northeast England and took the name “Gary Cole” to evade authorities, living with two separate men and infecting both — unbeknownst to the men — with HIV.
While he was on the run, his mother urged him to give himself up, according to The Telegraph.
“We just want to know he’s safe. He needs to come back," Michelle Rowe said.
He initially denied being HIV positive to police, according to The Times, but the second time police interviewed him they had accessed medical records that indicated he had HIV.
After his arrest, police found a box of three condoms in his possession, BBC reports, each of which had had its end cut off.