The First Person to be Convicted of Intentional HIV Transmission in the United Kingdom

The First Person to be Convicted of Intentional HIV Transmission in the United Kingdom

In November 2017, Daryll Jack Thomas Rowe was the first person to be convicted of intentional HIV transmission in England and Wales, after he was charged with grievous bodily harm for infecting 5 sexual partners with HIV and attempted grievous bodily harm for 5 further cases in which HIV transmission did not occur. He later pleaded guilty to 4 more charges at a separate trial, where he admitted to having sex with 4 men knowing he was HIV-positive.

Daryll Rowe / Facebook.

Daryll Rowe grew up in several foster homes as a child and when he was 8 years of age he moved in with his long-term family, where he continued to live until he was 19 years of age. His foster mother revealed during an interview that Daryll had scars on his body when he moved in, indicating there may have been some trauma when he was younger, which may have explained some of his actions later in life. Daryll’s long-term foster family appear to have given him a lot of love during his time living with them and they were completely shocked when they found out what he had done.

Daryll was diagnosed with HIV in April 2015 at a sexual health clinic in Edinburgh, Scotland. It was only a few months after this when the intentional HIV transmission attempts and offences started occurring, which was between October 2015 and December 2016, although it may have been earlier based on a WhatsApp conversation from August 2015. The victims were approached on Grindr and were convinced to have unprotected sex with Daryll and if they wouldn’t, he would tamper with the condoms by cutting off the tip or removing the condom during sex, which was unbeknown to his victims.

The victims would later find out they had potentially been infected after they received messages revealing that Daryll was HIV-positive, with one victim receiving a message that said “Maybe you have the fever. I came inside you and I have HIV LOL. Oops!” These messages were later used as evidence to demonstrate that Daryll deliberately infected his victims. In a cruel twist, one of Daryll’s victims who became HIV-positive, lost both his parents after they died from AIDS complications in the 1980s as a result of his father became HIV-positive from injecting drugs and he later infected the victim’s mother as well.

Daryll Rowe / Telegram.

The situation has now improved with medical advancements, but back when these offences occurred, the victims did not have access to PrEP, as this medication was only approved for use in Scotland and Wales in 2017, Northern Ireland in 2018 and England in 2021, which was long after the offences took place in 2015 and 2016. PEP would have been available at the time, but Daryll made sure he only informed his victims after the 72 hours needed for PEP to be effective, to make sure they did not have the chance to stop the virus from infecting them.

According to the prosecutor’s statement in court, Daryll was warned he could be prosecuted for passing HIV on or even putting someone at risk of contracting HIV from him. Daryll was prescribed HIV medication in Scotland, but he refused antiretroviral therapy and later moved to Brighton in the United Kingdom. After Daryll discovered the authorities were aware of his actions, he suddenly moved to Newcastle in the United Kingdom and began using the name Gary Cole. All these actions were used against Daryll to prove he deliberately tried to infect other people and he went to great lengths to continue his infection spree.

Daryll Rowe as Benjamin York. / Blake Mason.

The legal issue also caused some controversy for British based gay porn studio Blake Mason, where Daryll performed under the name Benjamin York between 2013 and 2014. Blake Mason is a safer sex studio where Daryll appeared in condom scenes with the studio before he had become infected. One of the victims allegedly had to pressure the studio for a lengthy period of time to remove the scenes featuring Benjamin York, which is something the studio has reportedly never done before.

Daryll Rowe as Benjamin York. / Blake Mason.

During Daryll’s six week trial, the court heard that he had refused treatment and ignored advice from doctors. He also insisted on having unprotected sex with the men he met, by claiming he was clean. 24 men appeared in court to give evidence against him, but it is unknown how many victims there may have been or whether any other men were infected with the virus and did not come forward. Daryll was sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum term of 12 years. Daryll tried to appeal the sentence unsuccessfully. It is unknown how Daryll became infected with HIV and perhaps was a victim himself and did what he did to try to regain some power from the situation.

In 2018, Century Films produced a documentary for BBC called “The Man Who Used HIV as a Weapon” that involves interviews with 5 of Daryll’s victims, which you can watch below. This film captures to emotional turmoil these victims have endured as a result of what happened to them. This case provides an important lesson to ensure that honest conversations about HIV status are had and acts as a reminder that stealthing is a crime in various parts of the world, where some countries compare stealthing to rape.

Video: Century Films / BBC
Further Reading

Featured Photo: © Daily Record
Article ID: CC058
Version Control: 1.0 – February 19, 2023: Original article published.

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March 29, 2024 10:16 pm

my opinion here may not be popular, but Daryll Rowe I have always found to be extremely sexy – AIDS or not. I would also feel honored to carry his killer seed.
The fact that some of these men got AIDS from him is not much different than a lot of other scenarios. Let’s be honest…how many times have most of us had sex with a hot guy that ends up in hindsight doing something not right. The beyond harsh penalty he got just because there was a different outcome than say idk something like stealing from your house or whatever else, seems unfair. That being said, I’m also 100% not for stealthing where someone is lied to and then after a talk about it, a condom is intentionally tampered with, for example. For the ones who just agree to have bareback sex, that’s on them.

April 1, 2024 9:26 am
Reply to  Matt

Exactly Matt. When we talk about it we can’t stealth right? Those are pretty opposite approaches. And whether we are gifters or chasers; when we are candid risk is out in the open; not hidden to be discovered in some STD test in years to come. Those of us who live as chasers know that HIV isn’t the easiest thing to get or pass on. One will almost always experience plenty of other STI’s in a sexually open bareback life. None of the STIs I’ve experienced up to HIV ever came to me by someone being honest and disclosing. So why get ones undies in a bunch for those who are candid? 99 out of 100 of those “poz fucks” are NOT going to infect.

February 23, 2023 8:20 am

I believe that stealthing is wrong. The sentence he was given is excessive. If I want to be hiv+ it must be my choice. I will let a poz top fuck me bareback when I’m ready for it.

February 23, 2023 7:20 am

Tampering with the condoms and stealthing his victims… Life sentence is fair. The victims will live with it for the remainder of their lives. After 12yrs, if he is on his meds and undetectable but should be tested quarterly to see he’s maintaining his meds. I’m okay with parole.

February 21, 2023 3:27 am

I see that he was sentenced to life in prison…which seems a bit excessive, IMO.
I certainly don’t approve of stealthing anybody and what he did was atrocious, but life seems too harsh a sentence.

Liliwen Hind
Liliwen Hind
July 19, 2023 10:24 pm
Reply to 

Why is it to harsh he gave his victims life sentence

February 19, 2023 7:37 pm

Hi Jason.
I have mixed feelings about this case. First of all, I think that the boy in the report has mental health problems, which is why he acted as he did, although it is not a justification for his behavior.
I do not agree with stealthing, I think it is completely wrong, a person should have the right to choose if they want HIV or not.
It is my decision, nobody has the right to decide for me, at least that is my position. That is why I want my conversion to be knowing who is giving it to me, I want to voluntarily accept the poz seed, I don’t want it to just happen without knowing when or who gave it to me.
Regarding the boys who had unprotected sex there, the issue is different, because they assume the risk, they know in advance that there is a possibility of acquiring HIV or another disease, they should be responsible for their own health, I don’t want to sound rude, although I don’t know
It is a complicated subject but the sentence seems excessive to me if I understood correctly.