The man who used HIV as a weapon: the victims of Daryll Rowe speak

A man who was deliberately infected with HIV bravely renounced his anonymity right to share his story.

Lenny, an American living in Brighton, discovered he was HIV positive in February 2016 after Daryll Rowe secretly tore the condom they were using.

Dubbed the "HIV hairstylist" Rowe, from Edinburgh, was the first person to be convicted in the UK for deliberately infecting others with the virus and was imprisoned for life in April 2018.

He is said to have undertaken a "revenge" campaign on the gay community after he was diagnosed with HIV, and met his victims in the Grindr gay dating app.

Lenny is one of five men who tell their stories in the new BBC documentary The Man Who Used HIV As a Weapon.

He said that Rowe was "adamant" for having unprotected sex after the couple met online, and had not told him about the sabotaged condom until several weeks after sleeping together.

Rowe, in the photo, would have given the men the virus in a campaign of "revenge" on the gay community after he was diagnosed with HIV, and he met his victims in the Grindr gay dating app

Daryll Rowe, a hairdresser from Edinburgh, was the first person to be convicted in the UK for deliberately infecting other viruses and was imprisoned for life in April 2018 (photo in handcuffs at Brighton's Crown Court in # 39; October 2017)

After sleeping together "things became a little strange", according to Lenny, who says that Rowe quickly became "possessive" and "insulting" in a series of abusive messages on WhatsApp.

It was only after Lenny tried to block the Scotsman that he received the chilling call that brought his world down.

"He said:" You will burn … you are stupid, I tore the condom, I took you, "says Lenny, who remembers hearing a" rush of fear "come upon him.

Initially he did not take Rowe's threat seriously, but after being sick two weeks later he visited a clinic where he was positive HIV.

& # 39; I remember saying to myself, "How can I be so stupid," says Lenny, who felt like his life was over.

The victim Lenny, in the photo, discovered that he was HIV positive in February 2016 after Daryll Rowe secretly tore the condom they were using. He bravely gave up his anonymity right in a new BBC documentary that explores Rowe's "dangerous national campaign"

Lenny, in the photo, explains that initially he did not take Rowe's threat seriously, but after being sick two weeks later he visited a clinic where he was positive for HIV.

Lenny went directly to the Sussex police after learning that he was HIV positive (pictured in the police footage), which helped the officers connect Rowe to a series of cases in the North East

When the nurse revealed that she had seen four men with identical cases, all related to an unnamed Scottish, Lenny went directly to the Sussex police who immediately linked his ordeal to a series of similar reports in the North East.

The police arrested Rowe and entrusted him to the custody of the Scottish police, who discovered that he had targeted hundreds of other men in dating apps and had been forced to issue a public health warning.

After going to hide for a short time, Rowe was charged and handed a life sentence in April 2018 and ordered a service at least 12 years after the borderline case, which was the first of its kind.

Rowe had successfully infected five men from the Brighton and Northeast area with HIV, while at least five others could barely contract the life-changing virus.

The producers also spoke to Rowe's adoptive parents in the photo, who welcomed him at the age of eight, as they try to come to terms with and understand their son's crimes

Daryll Rowe as a boy on vacation with his adoptive parents. The couple described him as "very loving" and told of their shock in discovering his crimes

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF HIV?

Most people infected with HIV have a disease similar to influenza, from about two to six weeks after infection.

Symptoms usually last between one or two weeks.

After the initial symptoms, those with HIV may no longer have symptoms for several years.

Subsequently, other symptoms that may occur include weight loss, chronic diarrhea, night sweats and recurrent infections.

Source: NHS

The gruesome BBC documentary tells the intimate and shocking stories of the five victims, some of whom have never spoken to their families, while they speak publicly for the first time.

He examines how, in 18 months, Daryll Rowe has embarked on a "dangerous national campaign" to deceive unsuspecting men into having unprotected sex with him.

The victims tell how Rowe lied about his HIV status, sabotaged condoms and later sent abusive text messages to provoke them with the virus, such as: "You have HIV. Lol".

A total of 24 men reported Rowe to the police, but no one knows how many others could have slept.

The candid and revealing testimonies of the victims, read in court, have revealed the devastating effect of the psychological abuses they have suffered.

The producers also spoke to Rowe's adoptive mother, Jacqui, as she tried to come to terms with and understand her son's crimes.

A psychiatric report concluded that Rowe's crimes showed a high level of sadism and violence and as such was a high risk or caused serious harm to homosexual men through similar crimes

Rowe's mug shot. The Scotsman was sentenced in April 2018 and Judge Christine Henson QC condemned his crimes as a "determined hateful campaign of devious violence"

Rowe in handcuffs. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in April 2018 and ordered a service at least 12 years after the borderline case, which was the first of its kind

Rowe was sentenced to life imprisonment in April 2018 and Judge Christine Henson QC condemned the crimes as a "determined hateful campaign of devious violence".

"You are the first individual to be convicted of violating Section 18 in the context of infecting others with HIV," he said.

Rowe contacted the men in the dating app, Grindr, before infecting them with HIV

"With the full awareness of the risk you have posed to others and the legal implications of involvement in risky sexual practices, you have undertaken a deliberate campaign to infect other men with HIV.

& # 39; Unfortunately for five of the men you met your campaign was successful. & # 39;

The judge added: "They describe living with a life sentence following your cruel and senseless acts. Many of those men were young at the time when they had the misfortune to meet you."

The judge told Rowe that it represents a significant risk to the public, adding: "You will potentially be a danger to others for the rest of your life."

In a declaration of the victim's impact read before his conviction, one of Rowe's victims told of the lasting impact of the crimes.

A psychiatric report read at the court concluded that Rowe's crimes showed a high level of sadism and violence and as such was a high risk or causing serious harm to homosexual men through similar crimes.

The man who used HIV as a weapon is now available on iPlayer

Rowe's vindictive campaign

Rowe is said to have given men the virus in a "revenge" campaign on the gay community after he was diagnosed with HIV.

He sent a scornful message to one of the victims, sending messages: "Maybe you have a fever. I came inside you and I have HIV LOL. Oops! & # 39;

Rowe contacted the men of the gay dating app, Grindr, and would exchange messages with men before meeting with them in their homes where they would have sex.

Lewes Crown Court heard that Rowe had come up with the plan almost as soon as he received the news that he had contracted HIV from his previous boyfriend in April 2015.

He was told of the treatment available, but stunned the medical staff in his city of Edinburgh, informing them that he did not want to take anti-retroviral drugs.

When he was first arrested by the Sussex police in 2016, he had already plundered eight men, his trial was heard.

He was ordered to stay out of Sussex and respond to the bail in Northumberland but he escaped, targeting two other men in the North East before he was finally arrested again and held in custody.

He was finally put on trial in 2017 and found guilty of five counts of causing serious personal injury and five attempts to cause GBH in an acclaimed trial as the first of its kind.

After his conviction, Rowe's last victim accused the police of putting him at risk and said that more could have been done before to stop Rowe's offense.

Police images showed that Rowe was interviewed by officers and told them that she was not HIV.

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