Former photographer jailed for inflicting ex with HIV

Les Pringle at  Newcastle Crown Court.
Les Pringle at Newcastle Crown Court.

A PHOTOGRAPHER who infected a former girlfriend with the HIV virus has been jailed for three and a half years.

Les Pringle was sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court on Monday afternoon following a trial last month where he was found guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm.

He was described by Judge Paul Sloan as being utterly irresponsible and selfish following his actions, which the court heard have left his victim suffering from depression and feeling in a state of worthlessness.

The court had heard Pringle, 48, was in a loving relationship with his victim.

But he did not tell her he had been diagnosed with the HIV virus and had unprotected sex with her.

At his trial, Pringle, of Rennington Avenue, Tynemouth, denied being told by medical staff of the necessary precautions he needed to take.

But the court heard he had been given advice, and leaflets, on a number of occasions.

During the sentencing hearing, Robert Ellison, defending, said when Pringle was first diagnosed with the HIV virus, he was in a state of denial.

He said: “He was living something close to a fantasy world, where it had not happened at all.”

He told the court Pringle expresses deep sorrow and remorse about the victim in this case.

During Pringle’s relationship with the woman, who can not be named for legal reasons, he hid the fact he had the virus, and when he did take medication he concealed it from her.

Even during a period of time when his partner fell ill, with symptoms consistent with HIV, he still failed to reveal what it could be, or tell her to seek treatment.

Judge Sloan said: “With the harm that you caused, in particular the seriousness, given the prolonged period over which you deliberately exposed your victim to risk of infection, I’m satisfied that there was a significant degree of pre-meditation.”

He also said there was a gross breach of trust on Pringle’s part.

Speaking after the case, Detective Superintendent Steve Wade: “We welcome this sentence, which will see Pringle serving a considerable time in custody.

“He breached a partner’s trust and showed absolutely no regard for her personal safety by withholding the information that he was HIV positive.

“Pringle knew he was HIV positive but recklessly ignored the health advice he had been given by having unprotected sexual relations with the victim.

“This has been a long and difficult enquiry and our thoughts continue to be with his victim who will have to live with the consequences of Pringle’s actions for the rest of her life.”