A hairdresser accused of deliberately infecting men with HIV lied to police about having the virus and sparked a nationwide manhunt after skipping bail, a jury heard. Daryll Rowe, 26, was released on bail after telling police he did not have the virus and claiming that somebody could be trying to frame him.
But he then vanished before being tracked down hundreds of miles away. A court heard that when two men came forward separately to say they had been infected with HIV in Brighton by a Scottish man, police arrested Rowe. During the interview, the accused, from Edinburgh, was asked if he had HIV.
He told them: “No.” He said he had been tested six months before the interview and was clear.
Rowe claimed somebody could have singled him out for the allegations.
He said he was regularly contacted on a dating app by a man he knew as Ian, who sent “mean messages”.
Rowe told police: “He sends big long messages and sometimes I just block him. He said before, ‘All my friends don’t like you and you should just move back to Edinburgh.’
“He’s about 30, he’s not young. We first started talking on Tinder.
“He’s seen me on Grindr. Every time I download it, he messages me. I don’t know his second name. I just know it’s Ian.”
Rowe told police at a later interview: “If these allegations are being made, this is either a big dramatic lie or what if they are just trying to single me out because gay people can be very horrible?
“This is one of the reasons why I left Edinburgh because gay people can be very horrible up there.”
His trial, at Lewes Crown Court near Brighton, heard Sussex Police questioned him twice more about six further allegations but again released him on bail.
When officers were given authorisation to charge Rowe with causing GBH with intent and attempted GBH with intent, they found he had skipped bail. Rowe was named as “wanted” on the Police National Computer and officers in Northumberland and Scotland were sent to look for him. He was found in the Wallsend area of Newcastle.
Rowe is accused of tampering with contraceptives while having sex with 10 men in Brighton and the north-east of England between October 2015 and December 2016.
He denies all the charges. The trial continues.