Man ‘recklessly infected three women with HIV’

John Nehemiah Rodney accused of three counts of grievous bodily harm

Maya Oppenheim
Women's Correspondent
Wednesday 09 October 2019 14:20
The crime of reckless HIV transmission is punishable by up to five years in prison in England and Wales
The crime of reckless HIV transmission is punishable by up to five years in prison in England and Wales

A man from Toothill in Swindon has been charged with infecting three women with HIV.

John Nehemiah Rodney, who is scheduled to appear before Swindon Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, stands accused of three counts of grievous bodily harm against three women who have tested HIV positive.

The 60-year-old is being detained at HMP Channings Wood – a Category C prison in Ogwell in Devon.

The crime of reckless HIV transmission is punishable by up to five years in prison in England and Wales.

Ian Harris, a senior lawyer for the Crown Prosecution Service said: “Following a careful review of the evidence provided to me by Wiltshire Police I have authorised the police to charge John Nehemiah Rodney with three offences of inflicting grievous bodily harm in relation to three women who have been infected with HIV.”

He added: “The Crown Prosecution Service reminds all concerned that criminal proceedings against the defendant are now active and that he has the right to a fair trial.

“It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.”

Terence Higgins Trust, a leading HIV, AIDS and sexual health charity, stipulates individuals can be found guilty of reckless HIV transmission if all of the following factors apply: “You had sex with someone who didn’t know you had HIV. You knew you had HIV at that time. You understood how HIV is transmitted. You had sex without a condom. You transmitted HIV to that person.”

In Scotland, the law is more stringent and people can be prosecuted for placing someone at risk of getting the virus even if they were not actually infected with it.

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Daryll Rowe became the first person in the UK to be found guilty of deliberately intending to spread the virus – with a judge at Brighton Crown Court sentencing him to life with a minimum term of 12 years in April last year.

He was accused of pursuing calculated efforts to infect gay men he came into contact with through a dating app and was convicted of 10 charges – five of causing grievous bodily harm with intent and five of trying to do so.

Additional reporting by Press Association