Personal trainer who infected 2 unsuspecting women with HIV jailed for 5 years
A personal fitness trainer who infected two unsuspecting women with HIV has been jailed for five years.
Simon James, 46, did not inform his victims that he was HIV-positive before having sex with them on a number of occasions.
He later admitted he had the virus but insisted the medication he was taking eradicated any risk of the women contracting it.
Bristol Crown Court heard James refused to wear condoms as he claimed he was allergic to them, they were uncomfortable and did not fit him.
James was not taking medication or attending hospital appointments during the time he had unprotected sex with the women, between 2007 and 2013.
He denied two counts of grievous bodily harm by recklessly transmitting HIV but was convicted by a jury following a five-day trial in October.
His conviction is only the third time a jury have reached a guilty verdict for this offence in UK legal history.
Mr Recorder Michael Parroy QC described James' actions as "perfectly deliberate" as he jailed him for five years.
"With what I see as your perfectly deliberate selfishness you have blighted the lives of these two young women," he told James.
"You told the court during the course of your evidence that you found wearing condoms uncomfortable and you were allergic to them and so on.
"I have no doubt that you wanted to go on having sex with them. You wanted to go on for your own reasons having unprotected sex.
"The result for each of them has been quite disastrous.
"You were well aware of what you were doing and went ahead and did it for your own personal satisfaction.
"This was a perfectly deliberate and continuing course of conduct which you pursued.
"What you did, Mr James, was quite dreadful and the consequences will be lived by others not you."
Victim impact statements provided to the court showed how both women find living with HIV "a very scary experience" and have to take medication daily.
The women, described as young professionals, fear any children they have may be born with the virus.
"I could never knowingly put another person through this. The guilt would have been too much to bear if I passed it on," one said.
Both fear the "HIV is at work on them" when they suffer from a cold or a sore throat, the judge added.
James, of Bradley Stoke, Bristol, contracted HIV in 1995 but failed to use contraception, attend hospital appointments or take his antiretroviral medication.
Speaking outside court, Detective Constable Ben Sullivan said: "He was advised of the dangers of unsafe sex and the importance of taking his medication by healthcare professionals on countless occasions while he also missed up to 49 appointments for viral load monitoring between 1999 and 2014.
"He was aware of the risk to others and chose to ignore them regardless. As a result, his victims have suffered greatly and I can only praise them for their bravery.
"This has been an extremely complex and rare investigation and I am pleased the jury were able to see through his lies and that he has been punished accordingly."