By Gwyn Wright, PA
Rugby star Gareth Thomas has settled a legal case with an ex-partner who accused the former Wales captain of “deceptively” transmitting HIV to him.
Ian Baum sued Mr Thomas in the UK High Court for allegedly hiding his HIV status and “failing to take reasonable care” not to pass the virus on.
Mr Thomas will pay £75,000 plus costs but said he has not admitted liability by settling, adding that he maintains his innocence “in all the meritless allegations”.
Mr Baum, a former police constable who was in a relationship with the rugby star between 2013 and 2016, claimed he was HIV negative when they got together, court papers said.
The documents said Mr Baum noticed the sportsman was taking pills from bottles which had the labels ripped off them but was told they were multivitamins.
He claimed he found out the pills were an HIV antiviral medication called GSK1 after googling them.
Mr Baum said he “immediately” went to get a rapid HIV test and was “devastated” and “went into shock” when he found out he was positive.
The court papers said: “By transmitting HIV to the claimant, the defendant has caused him serious physical and psychological injury.
“That information, had it become publicly known, would have been extremely damaging to the defendant’s public reputation as a person who had spoken out about his homosexuality and LGBTQ issues.
“Since that time the defendant has portrayed himself as a spokesperson for LGBT issues without ever revealing that he deceptively transmitted HIV to the claimant in 2014.
“The defendant knowingly lied to the claimant about his HIV status and had coerced the claimant into having unprotected sexual intercourse when he knew that by doing so he was putting the claimant at risk of contracting HIV.”
I'm making this announcement first before the tabloids take my truth. I am delighted to say that the legal case against me has been settled by means of a Part 36 offer.
This is not an admission of liability or guilt. I maintain my innocence in all the meritless allegations.
— Gareth Thomas (@gareththomas14) January 30, 2023
McCue Jury and Partners, the legal firm representing Mr Baum, said in a statement: “Ian stood up for himself against the odds. Ian is looking forward to putting this unpleasant chapter of his life behind him.”
Mr Thomas said on Twitter: “In personal injury cases like this the accuser has no financial risks even if they lose, but for me winning had huge financial implications. Paying £75,000 plus costs now is nothing compared to the many multiples of that sum I’d have had to pay to successfully defend myself in court.
“For my own mental health and that of my family, this closure and acceptance from the other side is a hugely positive outcome.”
Mr Thomas, who won 100 caps for Wales and represented the country in four Rugby World Cups, made history in 2009 when he became the first openly gay rugby player in the world.
He publicly revealed he was living with HIV in 2019 and has campaigned to raise awareness of the condition through the Terrance Higgins Trust charity of which he is patron.