'Sexual predator' who infected women with HIV starts 10-year jail term

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The Independent Online

An African asylum-seeker who infected three women with HIV by having unprotected sex with them despite knowing he had the virus started a 10-year prison sentence today.

An African asylum-seeker who infected three women with HIV by having unprotected sex with them despite knowing he had the virus started a 10-year prison sentence today.

Feston Konzani, 28, a musician, was charged with inflicting grievous bodily harm on the three women, aged between 15 and 27, between 2000 and 2003 in Middlesbrough. Police have labelled him a "sexual predator" and the trial judge at Teeside Crown Court said it was the worst case of GBH imaginable.

Konzani's victims included a 15-year-old virgin he kept prisoner at his home in Middlesbrough, a 27-year-old African student who had a child by him and a 26-year-old voluntary worker. The African woman was standing by Konzani and professed her love for him in a letter read in court. The letter said: "I love you and cherish you. I am still there for you and together we will stand strong. I am always yours."

A jury of eight men and four women took less than three hours to convict Konzani unanimously on all three charges.

Detective Sergeant Ted Allen, of Cleveland Police, said after the hearing: "No matter the outcome of this case, it is a tragedy for the women involved.

"Their lives have been torn apart. They have been caught by a sexual predator who has lied and inflicted upon them an injury which will affect them for the rest of their days."

Konzani came to England with the help of a British diplomat with whom he had had an affair in his native Malawi.

Christopher Henderson, who was posted to the High Commission in Malawi, met Konzani, then 18, at his village and invited him back to his official residence where the affair developed. Mr Henderson, 38, later paid Konzani's air fare to England in 1998.