AN Italian sex fiend who intentionally infected 30 women with HIV has been jailed for 24 years.
For nearly a decade Valentino Talluto seduced dozens of young women on social networks and internet dating sites, often dating several at a time under the pseudonym “Hearty Style” .
Rome prosecutors had requested a life sentence for the 33-year-old accountant but after 12 hours of deliberation the court handed down a 24-year sentence.
They ruled he did not cause an epidemic by spreading a pathogen, which under Italian law would have brought a life term.
Some of his victims embraced and burst into tears when the verdict was announced, reporters who were present said.
Out of 53 sexual encounters known to have taken place between 2006 — when he discovered he was HIV positive — and his arrest in 2015, 30 women were allegedly infected by him with the virus which damages the immune system and causes AIDS.
The boyfriends of three of the women were also infected, as was the baby of a fourth, investigators say.
Throughout the trial the women described how Talluto had wined and dined them, claiming to fall in love before persuading them to have unprotected sex.
The women who had asked him to wear a condom said he told them he was allergic or had just been tested for HIV.
When the women discovered they were HIV positive — by chance, due to health problems or after other women he dated raised the alarm — they said he said it had nothing to do with him.
The defence maintains Talluto’s actions were “imprudent, but not intentional”.
Many of Talluto’s victims were students, some mothers. The youngest was 14 at the beginning of their relationship, the oldest around 40.
Each described the horrors of HIV, from the stigma which distanced even family members, to the trials of treatment.
Some women stayed with him for months after discovering they were sick. In the end, it was above all his chronic cheating — he juggled up to six relationships at the same time — that drove them away.
The prosecution has demanded the bespectacled, stocky accountant get life behind bars for “wilful injury” and causing an “epidemic”.
“Talluto has never cooperated, he has made false statements, he has always denied any responsibility, even in the face of the evidence. His actions were intended to sow death,” prosecutor Elena Neri told the court last month.
One of the women still refuses to give up on him. She told the court in July of their meeting in 2014, how he told her immediately that he was HIV positive, and how she forgave his infidelities.
“We want to get married. I’m still in love with Valentino, he’s not the monster that everyone describes,” she said.
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