A hairdresser has been found guilty of deliberately trying to infect 10 men with HIV after meeting them on Grindr.
Daryll Rowe was convicted of five counts of grievous bodily harm with intent, and five counts of attempting to do so on Wednesday afternoon at Lewes Crown Court.
The jury of seven women and five men returned its verdicts after 18 hours deliberating.
The court was silent, and 27-year-old Rowe 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.
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 12 returned to court to find 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.
Rowe, wearing a grey suit and open-collared white shirt, showed no emotion as he was sentenced
The judge referred to his crimes as a “determined hateful campaign of sly violence”.
“You are the first individual to be sentenced for Section 18 offences in the context of infecting others with HIV,” she said
“With the full knowledge of the risk you posed to others and the legal implications of engaging in risky sexual practices, you embarked on a deliberate campaign to infect other men with the HIV virus.
“Unfortunately for five of the men you met your campaign was successful.”
The judge added: “They describe living with a life sentence as a result of your cruel and senseless acts. Many of those men were young men in their 20s at the time they had the misfortune to meet you.”
The judge told Rowe: “Given the facts of this case and your permissive predatory behaviour I cannot see when you would no longer be a danger to gay men.
“In my judgment the offences, taken together, are so serious, that a life sentence is justified.
“You will potentially remain a danger to others for the rest of your life.”
Speaking outside court, Detective Inspector Andy Wolstenholme, from Sussex Police, welcomed the “really strong sentence”.
“It’s down to the court, but of course (it’s) reflective of Daryll Rowe’s betrayal, not only of his victims – he lied constantly in order to attack them physically and mentally – but also the LGBT+ community in Brighton (and) also people living with HIV as well.
“So, a really important sentence and a strong message from the judge that this individual’s actions won’t be tolerated.”
He said officers had trawled through Rowe’s phones and computers to find further potential victims.
“There could be more people out there that we don’t know about and if there are I would urge them to come forward,” he said.
In a statement released by police, one of Rowe’s victims told how his mother and father had both died of Aids when he was a child.
He said: “This disease is something I never took lightly. I did everything to prevent the virus from ever catching me.
“I educated myself on safe sex and always used a condom but on November 13 2015, Daryll Rowe decided to take that right away from me.
“A part of me died that day when I was diagnosed.
“The old me is no longer. The new me is constantly sad, thinking about how my life changed.
“I have been devastated by Rowe’s actions but I want to make sure that this doesn’t happen to anyone else.”