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Hairdresser texted lover 'I have HIV. Lol', trial hears

Daryll Rowe is accused of deliberately trying to infect ten men with the virus.

Lewes Crown Court: Rowe gave evidence.
Lewes Crown Court: Rowe gave evidence. Tom Pugh/ PA Archive/PA Images

A hairdresser said he does not remember sending a text to a male lover which said: "I have HIV. Lol. Whoops".

Daryll Rowe, originally from Edinburgh and now of no fixed address, is on trial at Lewes Crown Court in East Sussex facing allegations he deliberately tried to infect ten men with the virus.

The 27-year-old told a jury he could not recall most of the conversation he had after having sex with his first alleged victim. But he said the messages were "just nasty" and would have been written "just to get a reaction."

On Thursday during cross examination he said he did not remember sending a string of abusive texts messages to his first alleged victim, including one which said: "I have HIV. Lol. Whoops."

Caroline Carberry QC, prosecuting, claimed this was the start of his "campaign" to infect men.

She said: "It's convenient for you not to remember this text because you know this text is a very damning text."

Rowe replied: "It's the truth. I can't tell you what I think of the message because I can't remember sending it.

"I didn't give the messages much thought. Most of the messages are just really nasty and to get a reaction from the other person."

Rowe continued: "I did not mean any of it. I didn't believe I had HIV at the time."

Most of the men who gave evidence in court said Rowe told them in person he was free from the virus.

He accused them of lying and said the conversations never happened, but did admit lying to one of them about having a negative test result and being clear of the virus.

Ms Carberry suggested there were two sides to him - someone who could be a "very charming, very obliging, really nice person" and a "nasty, angry individual".

He said: "That doesn't represent me as a person."

Prior to moving to Brighton, where he met eight of his alleged victims, he was diagnosed with HIV and spoke with doctors and health professionals at an Edinburgh clinic on several occasions.

But he repeatedly told jurors he could not remember conversations in which he was warned he was highly infectious, that he could be prosecuted for passing on the virus, and that he was more likely to give it to someone else after also contracting gonorrhoea.

Ms Carberry said this, and his claim he thought alternative urine therapy was curing him, was a "nonsense" to explain the "campaign" he embarked on to infect his victims.

Rowe denies ten charges - five counts of grievous bodily harm with intent and five counts of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent.

He will return to the stand on Friday as the trial continues.

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