Man jailed for keeping HIV secret from lover

The lover of a photographer who infected her with HIV said she will stand by him after he was jailed for doing the same to an ex-girlfriend.

Les Pringle, 48, from Tynemouth, North Tyneside, was jailed for three and a half years at Newcastle Crown Court on Monday for inflicting grievous bodily harm on a woman known as X.

He had unprotected sex with her, despite knowing he had HIV and being told by doctors that he could pass on the virus.

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She only found out she had HIV after they had split up and was about to start another romance.

After the case, it emerged another woman had also been infected but she is standing by her lover.

They were at school together, had a relationship in later life, but they broke up suddenly.

She fell ill and eventually had a HIV test which was positive, and she suspected Pringle had infected her.

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Pringle was in denial about his illness, but following a suicide attempt in the River Tyne, his state of mind changed and she decided to help him.

Over time, their romance was rekindled and she remained supportive of him through his trial.

She told the Newcastle-based Evening Chronicle: “I had to think very hard about whether I could forgive him, and it did take a while.

“I realised he wasn’t a bad person. He just wasn’t dealing with it. He said he had finally had his head dragged out of the sand.”

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The woman, a mother, who has not been named, does not believe he deliberately infected her and can now forgive him.

He dated X at a separate time and had been in a loving relationship with her until they split up.

After Pringle was convicted, X released a statement saying: “Through the position he now finds himself in, I hope Les Pringle uses this time to reflect on the damage he has done through his treatment of others, and learn something of compassion.

“There is no shame in having an HIV test, or indeed being HIV positive.

“Look after yourself and others, going for a test may well save your life.”