Page last updated at 13:03 GMT, Thursday, 25 February 2010

HIV man jailed for 'reckless sex'

Mark Devereaux
Mark Devereaux admitted charges of reckless conduct

A man whose girlfriend found out he had infected her with HIV when she was pregnant has been jailed for 10 years.

Mark Devereaux - who also had unprotected sex with other women - had known he had the virus for nine years.

The 28-year-old woman, pregnant with twins, chose to have an abortion after discovering she had HIV.

Devereaux, 41, from Dundee, admitted four charges of culpable and reckless conduct dating from January 2003 to December 2008.

Devereaux was working offshore when his partner found a letter in their home in the north east of Scotland which said he was HIV positive.

It later emerged Devereaux, who latterly lived in Dundee, had known for nine years before he began their six-year relationship that he had the virus and could pass it on.

He admitted that he had had unprotected sex with four different women without telling them about the risks involved.

The woman who was found to be positive got her test result when she was three months pregnant and decided to have an abortion.

Three of his victims escaped infection.

It seems to me that you callously and cruelly betrayed the trust placed in you by each of your partners and that you deceived them for your own self-centred reasons
Lord Pentland

During sentencing at the High Court in Dumbarton, judge Lord Pentland told Devereaux his behaviour had been "utterly irresponsible, dangerous and selfish".

He added: "You repeatedly and regularly had sexual intercourse with a number of women without taking any steps to protect them.

"You were well aware from the medical advice given to you that you were at risk of infecting any sexual partner if you had unprotected intercourse.

"But you chose not to inform any of your partners that you had the virus. You chose not to use a condom or take any precautions."

He continued: "It seems to me that you callously and cruelly betrayed the trust placed in you by each of your partners and that you deceived them for your own self-centred reasons."

'Worst nightmares'

Devereaux was also told his name would be added to the sexual offenders register.

One of Devereaux's victims, now 27, who had a relationship with him in 2003, said: "He is definitely an evil person - he is extremely manipulative.

"I trusted him. Never in my worst nightmares could I have imagined him keeping something like the fact he was HIV positive from me.

"Thankfully, I wasn't infected with HIV."

HIV groups demanded the "highest standards of proof" before a prosecution can be brought for reckless transmission of the virus, in the wake of the case.

HIV Scotland said it would be alarming if more prosecutions were brought in cases where no harm had been caused.

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