Daryl Rowe (arriving at Lewes Crown Court, earlier in his trial) is accused of infecting four men with HIV and attempting to give it to six
A hairdresser who allegedly infected string of lovers with HIV told police he had been ‘singled out’ because he was gay.
Daryll Rowe, 26, from Edinburgh, is accused of infecting four men and attempting to infect a further six.
Rowe was arrested on February 5 last year after two men had been diagnosed with HIV, Lewes Crown Court heard.
Eight police officers entered the flat in Brighton, East Sussex, and arrested Rowe in bed before searching the property and seizing a syringe and electrical goods.
In a police interview played to the court Rowe told officers he did not have HIV or any symptoms.
Asked by the interviewing officer asked whether he suffered from HIV Rowe replied: ‘No.’
He said he had been tested six months before the interview and was clear of the virus.
‘I’ve not had a test recently,’ he said. ‘I had a relationship when I first got here and that was unprotected but I’ve not been tested since.
‘I started dating somebody pretty quickly and it got quite intense.’
He told Sussex police he was last tested in Edinburgh.
‘I’ve not been sick or anything. I’ve had like, stuff over the winter but nothing serious, nothing bad. Not had any rashes.’
Rowe said he was worried someone might be trying to set him up and he may be the victim of a ‘big dramatic lie.’
He said: ‘What if they’re trying to single me out? This is one of the reasons I left Edinburgh – because of the horrible people up there.’
When shown photos of himself he allegedly sent to the first two victims he was baffled by how they had got them.
Asked he he thought it was a malicious allegation he replied: ‘Your guess is as good as mine. I honestly don’t know.’
He said Grindr is ‘very seedy’ and some people would take photos from it and create fake profiles.
Rowe (pictured, arriving at Lewes Crown Court earlier in his trial) first told police he had been framed
He said he knew just one person in Brighton he did not see ‘eye to eye’ with who had previously sent him abusive messages.
‘He said ‘All my friends don’t like you and you should just move back to Edinburgh’, Rowe claimed.
Between February and April a number of other men came forward after a public health warning was issued across the region.
Rowe, who had been bailed to live in Scotland, was re-interviewed in April in Berwick on Tweed and again bailed to August 1.
He was interviewed and bailed again to November 18 but he failed to surrender and a manhunt was launched.
Rowe was located Friday 23 December and he was arrested and charged with infecting or attempting to infect eight men with HIV.
The court heard how Rowe called one victim a ‘gay drama queen’ and told him to enjoy being ‘riddled with disease,’ after they had sex.
He is accused of sleeping with the man unprotected after they made contact on the gay dating app Grindr.
The pair met in a flat in Brighton and the victim asked Rowe if he was HIV negative and he confirmed that he was clean and the pair had sex using a condom.
But after the liaison the victim saw the condom on the bathroom floor and noticed it was torn in half.
He told the court he thought it might have been intentionally damaged and he became worried.
The victim later sent a series of texts to Rowe asking him to confirm he was HIV negative and also demanded to know whether the Scottish-born hairdresser had ejaculated inside him.
After a lover texted Rowe to ask him if he had HIV Rowe called him a ‘paranoid fool’ and a ‘gay drama queen’
Rowe reacted aggressively on text and branded the victim a ‘gay drama queen’, the jury were told.
In a video interview the victim said: ‘He said he did finish and I should enjoy having his riddled c** inside of me and enjoy being riddled with disease.
‘I said: ”Are you kidding? Cos it’s really not funny” and he replied saying: ”You’re just a drama queen, you’re just another gay drama queen.”
Rowe is charged with causing GBH to five men by infecting them with HIV and attempting GBH for trying to infect a further five men with the virus.
The hairdresser denies all the charges which relate to incidents between October 2015 and December 2016.
Earlier the court heard that Rowe had sex with at least 10 men he met on Grindr after being diagnosed as HIV positive.
In each case Rowe either refused to wear a condom or ‘sabotaged’ the contraception before having sex.
Afterwards he would send ‘abusive’ and ‘mocking’ texts to the alleged victims claiming he had HIV.
Rowe sent a text message to one victim saying: ‘Maybe you have the fever coz I came inside you and I have HIV LOL. Whoops!’
The jury heard he told another alleged victim: ‘I ripped the condom. Burn. I got you.’
In a video interview the eighth alleged victim said he noticed the damage to the condom when he went to the bathroom.
He said: ‘I noticed that it had completely broken, the whole top of it was off. It was basically halved.
Rowe (pictured, arriving at Lewes Crown Court earlier in his trial) allegedly told one victim ‘I ripped the condom. Burn. I got you’
‘I don’t know if it would have been ripped with him pulling it off after or if it had been during or before. The way it had been broken looked quite intentional. Because I had seen it broken I was kind of freaking out a bit.’
He said he was so worried he messaged Rowe but received a series of abusive texts in return.
The court heard in a series of exchanges Rowe told him: ‘And yes, I’m riddled by the way.’
When the alleged victim told him to ‘stop being a d****’ Rowe said: ‘Wow you’re really paranoid, ha. I’m not into guys that are that paranoid.
‘Dude you’re such a drama queen. Take a chill pill. You’re being a dramatic, paranoid fool who is being wound up.’
After receiving the abusive texts from Rowe the alleged victim visited a sexual health clinic.
He was prescribed PEP treatment – which can prevent HIV infecting a person after it has entered the body.
The victim was treated for herpes type 2 virus and was given precautionary antibiotics for gonorrhoea and chlamydia.
He said: ‘I was very much bed-ridden. I was worried about whether the tablets would work. It was something I didn’t really know how to cope with.’
In March 2016, after receiving medical treatment, the victim found out he had not contracted the HIV virus.
The trial, expected to last six weeks, continues.
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