Brit Convicted Of Passing HIV

AIDS, World Map, Skull, HIV
When he chatted up women, tall, well-dressed Mohammed Dica pretended to be a lawyer and a veteran of the 1991 Persian Gulf war. But his bravado hid a terrible secret — he was HIV-positive.

The 38-year-old was convicted Tuesday on two counts of causing grievous bodily harm by "coldly and callously" infecting two lovers with the virus that leads to AIDS. The case is the first time in more than a century that someone has been successfully prosecuted in England and Wales for passing on a sexually transmitted disease.

Dica, from Mitcham, south of London, denied the charges, saying both women had known of his condition before sleeping with him.

But prosecutors told the Inner London Crown Court that he conned his first victim into having unprotected sex by claiming he had had a vasectomy and wooed the second, a mother of two, with declarations of love.

The second woman sobbed in court Monday as the jury of six men and six women gave their decision.

Refusing Dica's application for bail, Judge Nicholas Philpot said, "If I had to sentence him today there would be no doubt he would be going to prison and for a long time."

Philpot also rejected a defense request to commission a psychiatric report into Dica's behavior. He ordered Dica to return to court on Nov. 3 for the presentation of reports on sentencing; Dica faces up to five years' imprisonment for each offense.

Dica's second victim, identified only as Deborah for legal reasons, said she met him at a south London nightclub.

She was in a foundering relationship and within weeks they were lovers, she said. "Basically everything I wanted was in that man ... I would have done anything for him."

Dica, who pretended he was separated from his wife, promised Deborah marriage and more children. "He was like a prince in shining armor, saying all the right things. He was a lawyer, a Gulf War veteran, and so on," which turned out to be lies, she said.

Soon after she left her partner for him, she said, he disappeared. Her health began to deteriorate and she discovered she was HIV-positive.

"If he had been honest from the beginning, I'd never have had an affair with him. I'd have run a mile," she said. "My sentence has just begun. But I can now move on, knowing that justice has been done."

In 1866, a defendant called Bennett was convicted of indecent assault after infecting his niece with gonorrhea. In 1888, a jury at London's Old Bailey court found a man named Clarence guilty of grievous and actual bodily harm for giving his wife the same disease.

In March 2001, a court in Scotland — which has a different legal system — found Stephen Kelly guilty of "reckless conduct" for passing HIV to his wife.