Plymouth man jailed for deliberately infecting nurse girlfriend with HIV
A MAN has been jailed for knowingly infecting his girlfriend with HIV.
"Cruel" Louis Harris knew he had the virus when he struck up a sexual relationship with the nurse.
The 30-year-old, from Mount Gould, even failed to tell the woman when she asked, Plymouth Crown Court heard.
Harris was yesterday caged for two and a half years as a judge told him: "It's hard to imagine a crueller form of conduct."
The court heard how the woman – referred to as 'Miss C' for legal reasons – feared she may now never start a family because of the risk of passing the life-threatening virus on to her children.
Her career as a nurse in a hospital had also taken a hit, the court heard, with some areas of the profession now closed to her.
In a victim impact statement read out in court, Miss C said: "I can't engage when people talk about relationships. I can't describe how difficult it was telling my parents.
"I have a fear of passing it [HIV] on to someone else – the thought of dating men is very daunting and I feel I will never love again.
"To me that is such an important aspect of life. I am worried I will never have a family because I'm scared of passing it on to children."
The court heard how Harris, of Cecil Avenue, met the woman on a train in March last year and the pair began a relationship lasting several months. In August Miss C found out, through his brother's girlfriend, he was HIV positive – and discovered she too had contracted the virus.
Harris had been diagnosed in July 2007, five years before the couple met, the court heard.
Shortly after diagnosis he began a sexual relationship with another woman – without telling her he was HIV positive – who then became pregnant by him. Seven months into her pregnancy she learnt Harris had the virus – though neither mum nor baby contracted it.
"This is a tragic and terrible case," Recorder Burgess told Harris. "You did not disclose your HIV status when your previous partner became pregnant. She had to undergo three months of weekly testing and the baby had to take anti-viral medication for her first 28 days of life.
"It is an aggravating feature of this case that Miss C asked you directly and you did not disclose your HIV positive status.
"To say that your behaviour had a devastating effect on her is a gross understatement. Her whole attitude to life and relationships has been irreparably damaged. It's hard to imagine a crueller form of conduct."
Deni Matthews, for Harris, said the nurse's victim impact statement "echoed" Harris' own statements and feelings. He said Harris had made admissions in interviews, conducted himself properly in prison and "accepts responsibility".
Harris, who had admitted wounding by inflicting grievous bodily harm, was sentenced to two and a half years imprisonment, minus 41 days already served. A restraining order also prevents him from contacting Miss C indefinitely.
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