On Wednesday, Daryll Rowe was sentenced to life in prison for attempting to infect 10 people with HIV.
The 27-year-old was found guilty of five counts of causing grievous bodily harm with intent six months ago, and according to BuzzFeed News will serve a minimum term of 12 years before becoming eligible for parole.
Of the ten victims, half contracted the virus. “I’m overwhelmed knowing he’s in jail. I’m just so glad that I can finally put all of this behind me,” Rowe’s youngest victim, who did not contract the virus, told BuzzFeed News. “Maybe the people who weren’t as lucky as me can move on knowing he’s got what he’s deserved.”
Rowe is the first person in England to be sentenced for deliberately infecting people with HIV. Judge Christine Henson said Rowe posed a “significant risk to the public.”
“You deceived all of the men into thinking you were HIV-negative,” she said during the sentencing. “You sent many abusive and mocking messages. You knew exactly what you were doing.”
Henson referred to the findings of two psychiatrists on the case, telling Rowe they “agree that the seriousness of your case is directly linked into deceiving men into high risk anal intercourse when you had not taken antiretroviral medication…Both agree that your motivation behind your offending is complex, particularly given your denial and rationalization of your offending.”
One psychiatrist described Rowe’s crimes as “highly predatory, controlling, and manipulative” and “associated with a ‘significant degree of rage, control, sadism and violence.’”
Before the sentencing, several of Rowe’s victims shared impact statements. “When I told myself and those closest to me that I was gay it was the most terrifying and liberating experience of my life,” said one victim, according to BuzzFeed News. “But having my vulnerability used against me will stay with me forever.”
Rowe himself refused to take HIV medication, and either lied to victims about being HIV negative or tampered with condoms. He followed his encounters with berating messages, some of which were presented during the trial. He messaged one of his victims after they had sex saying, “I have HIV LOL. Oops!”
Many of Rowe’s victims spoke about needing therapy or being admitted to institutions following their encounters with Rowe. “Mr Rowe has never shown any sympathy of compassion,” his oldest victim said during an impact statement, according to BuzzFeed. “He has shown only arrogance, selfishness and an utter lack of humanity.”