Gareth Thomas settles HIV case with ex-partner
Gareth Thomas, the former Wales rugby captain, has agreed a £75,000 settlement with an ex-partner who accused him of "deceptively" transmitting him with HIV.
A High Court claim lodged by Ian Baum alleged that Thomas failed to take "reasonable care" to ensure he did not pass on the infection during their on-off relationship.
However, Baum and Thomas have both expressed relief as they confirmed separately that the case had been resolved.
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
In contrast, Baum's lawyers, McCue Jury & Partners, said the settlement he receives represented "significant vindication for our client after an eight-year ordeal".
The claim against Thomas in August last year was for at least £150,000 and court papers claimed Baum saw Thomas between September 2013 and May 2016. Baum stated he did not have HIV when the relationship started and it was alleged that Thomas hid his HIV status.
McCue Jury & Partners added of the claims against Thomas: "Not only are these civil wrongs, but criminal offences."
Baum claimed he witnessed Thomas taking antiviral medicine and was told they were vitamin tablets. Thomas, however, denied that he misled Baum about his HIV positive condition. He also said they did not have sex for four months after getting together because he "sustained an injury".
In announcing the case had been settled, Thomas, a patron of the Terrence Higgins Trust, wrote in his statement that "paying £75k 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."
"In personal injury cases like this the accuser has no financial risks even if they lose, but for me winning had huge financial implications.... For my own mental health and that of my family, this closure and acceptance from the other side is a hugely positive outcome. As the largest HIV charity in the UK said, there are no winners in HIV cases like these, and that is certainly the case. To all my family, friends and supporters and sponsors, I love you and thank you xxxx".
Baum's lawyers said in response: "The settlement, while reached based on a non-admission of liability by Mr Thomas, nevertheless serves as significant vindication for our client after an eight-year ordeal, which has been the source of significant stress and trauma for him, combined with public allegations that by seeking redress he was somehow blackmailing Mr Thomas, when all he wanted was to be heard. Despite Mr Thomas’ significant financial and media power, Ian stood up for himself against the odds. Ian is looking forward to putting this unpleasant chapter of his life behind him."
His legal team added that Baum is "saddened by the disparity in the unequivocal support The Terrence Higgins Trust has publicly given Mr Thomas and the utter lack of support they have given him."
Baum was claiming damages for assault, negligence and intentional infliction of harm which caused "serious physical and psychological injury". He said he had experienced issues with anxiety and alcohol following Thomas' alleged behaviour.
Thomas revealed in an interview and BBC documentary in 2019 that he had HIV. He revealed he was gay in 2009 towards the end of a distinguished playing career.