Personal trainer suing date after claiming she gave him a cold sore

Personal trainer, 45, who is suing date for £130,000 after claiming she gave him a cold sore when they kissed is told to prove he didn’t catch it off someone else

  • Martin Ashley Conway, 45, kissed Jovanna Lovelace, in her 30s, on date last year 
  • He claims the kiss left with an active cold sore that left him sick and traumatised 
  • Mr Conway is now suing his date for £138,000 for not disclosing the cold sore
  • A judge has told him that he must prove that the cold sore came from the kiss 

A personal trainer who is suing his date for £138,000 after claiming he got a cold sore after she kissed him has been told by a judge he must prove in court he didn’t catch it from someone else.

Martin Ashley Conway, 45, claims he has been left ‘traumatised’, with his life and work seriously damaged, after catching the herpes simplex cold sore virus through kissing date Jovanna Lovelace, in her 30s, during a romantic meet up in London last year.

Mr Conway claims his date – who like him was a member of social network – was ‘negligent’ in kissing him when she had an ‘active cold sore’ and owed him a duty of care to protect him from contracting a ‘virus for life’.

But he has been told by a judge at Central London County Court that he must prove at trial it was her that gave him the cold sores or end up with nothing.

Martin Ashley Conway claims Jovanna Lovelace was ‘negligent’ in kissing him when she had an active cold sore and owed him a duty of care to protect him from contracting a ‘virus for life’

Martin Ashley Conway, 45, says he has been ‘traumatised’ and his life and work seriously affected after catching the herpes simplex cold sore virus through kissing Ms Lovelace during a romantic meet up in London last year

Meanwhile Ms Lovelace failed in a bid to get the ‘salacious’ case heard in private, with Judge David Saunders saying he ‘refused to censor’ reporting of the court battle.

Fitness coach Mr Conway, from Paddington, west London, says he became ill several days after he and Ms Lovelace kissed on their date in July last year. 


Herpes viruses cause cold sores, which most commonly appear on the lips or genitals.

Around seven in 10 people in the UK are infected with the viruses.

However, only around one in three experience symptoms. 

In the US, around half of young adults are infected with the virus that causes cold sores around the mouth.

One in eight have the virus behind genital herpes.  

Cold sores on the lips most commonly get passed on by being kissed by someone with an active cold sore. 

They begin as a small red patch that blisters before bursting, leaving a raw area that scabs. 

Cold sores that appear on the face are most commonly caused by the herpes simplex type 1 virus.

Type 2 mainly affects the genitals.

It is rare for cold sores to spread away from the site they first appeared in.

And they are only transmitted by direct skin contact, not by sharing items such as towels or cutlery.

Oral sex is a common way for cold sores to pass from a person’s mouth to another’s genitals or vice versa.  

Once infected, sufferers may initially experience a fever and flu-like symptoms.

Cold sores can reappear if triggered by stress, illness, alcohol or too much sunlight.

This is because the virus stays in a nerve junction near the spinal cord. 

Many feel an itch, tingle or shooting pain before a cold sore reappears.

Antiviral medication may be prescribed if someone frequently suffers from outbreaks. 

Keeping sores moisturised can stop them cracking and becoming painful. 

Source: Herpes Viruses Association 

He said he developed flu-like symptoms and mouth ulcers and had to be rushed into hospital after suffering a panic attack.

The personal trainer is now suing Ms Lovelace, claiming she must pay for infecting him with a condition which has blighted his personal and professional life and left him needing therapy.

He says she ‘had a moral and ethical and legal duty to warn me of the risks that I would be exposed to,’ adding: ‘I was kissed before I was informed of any cold sore.’

However, his date is fighting the Central London County Court compensation claim, which she described in court papers as ‘frivolous and vexatious’ and ‘doomed to fail’.

At a pre-trial hearing Judge David Saunders told Mr Conway: ‘This is a claim for £138,000. 

‘It’s a significant claim, focused on the passing-on of the Herpes simplex virus which has caused you loss.

‘It is the issue which this court has to deal with. 

‘This case has really got to be honed down to those issues.

‘Really this is all about whether you have it and whether she has it and gave it to you. It could be somebody else.

‘It’s your claim and you’ve got to prove it. The battle is yours.’

The judge said that ‘medical expert evidence’ is set to be key in deciding that central issue when the case comes to trial.

‘This is a public court and this is a case that does have some unfortunate salacious details.

‘I don’t want this to be some sort of cause celebre, but a proper civil claim,’ the judge added.

Ms Lovelace, who addressed the judge from behind a screen preventing her and Mr Conway from having direct eye contact, applied to the judge for reporting restrictions, asking that the case be heard in private.

She said previous reporting of the case had affected her personal life and she feared more publicity would lead to her being ostracised by other parents at her child’s school.

‘There will be no parties,’ she said, also claiming that she was also worried she might lose her job due to her involvement in the case and ‘end up living on benefits’.

But the judge refused, telling her that to order the case to be heard in private would be ‘a form of censorship and I cannot condone that.’

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