Australia: Man found guilty of killing partner after victim tells him he’s HIV positive

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A man in Sydney has been convicted of killing his male partner after he was told of his HIV status.

Felipe Flores’s battered body was discovered with his pants around his ankles in an area once coined “lovers’ lane” in Woolloomooloo in 1991.

The 27-year-old’s death remained a mystery for years.

But after detectives found DNA under Mr Flores’s fingernails in 2008, his former partner, Paul Armstrong, was arrested.

He had been found guilty of murder by a Supreme Court jury in 2010 but the conviction was overturned on appeal last year and a retrial ordered.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports last week, the Crown accepted a plea to the lesser offence of manslaughter by reason of the partial defence of provocation.

The Crown accepted on the evidence that Armstrong’s “loss of control was induced” by Mr Flores’ disclosure that he was HIV positive immediately after they had oral sex.

“The Crown accepts that taking into account the community concern in 1991 as to contracting HIV, that it could have induced an ordinary person in the position of the offender to have so far lost self-control as to have informed the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm”.

Mr Flores was found by a security guard bloodied and near death on grassland near an electricity substation on 2 September 1991.

He was dead by the time paramedics arrived, having suffered severe internal injuries, including his liver almost being split in two.

In a sentencing hearing on Thursday, Armstrong said in 1991 he was terrified of contracting HIV because quite a few of his friends who had the disease had died within a short period.

His younger brother was also HIV positive and, when Mr Flores mentioned his HIV status, Armstrong lashed out.

“I thought it was a death sentence,” Armstrong said under questioning from his counsel, John Nicholson, SC.

“I had so many thoughts going through my mind – how long would I have, would I be walking around like a human skeleton?”

Justice Christine Adamson will hand down sentence for the manslaughter conviction at a date to be set.