Coronavirus cough-and-spit offenders arrested and jailed
West Midlands Police have confirmed that three men were jailed this week for coughing, spitting or threatening to infect people with coronavirus.
Police are hoping to send out a firm warning to anyone who uses coronavirus as a threat against police officers or members of the public as three men are jailed for their abusive conduct in the Midlands.
On Monday 6th April 2020 a judge at Warwick Crown Court gave the clearest indication yet that such callous crimes will not be tolerated when he immediately jailed a teenager for six months.
Judge Andrew Lockhart QC told Thomas Wilson he should be “thoroughly ashamed” of himself after the 19-year-old threatened to spit in a female officer’s face as she detained him over an alleged road rage incident in Coventry.
Officers arrested him at 12.30pm on 31st March 2020 in London Road, Coventry, after it was claimed he spat at a lorry driver and brandished an axe during an altercation in Brinklow Road.
He resisted arrest and suggested he had coronavirus symptoms before threatening to cough and spit at the officer.
Wilson, from Hepworth Road, Binley, was charged with possessing an offensive weapon, a public order offence, assault by spitting at the lorry driver, and assaulting an emergency services worker.
Most charges were deferred to be dealt with at a later date but Wilson was immediately jailed after he admitted the spit threat.
Jude Lockhart, said:
“It is necessary to send out a clear message this behaviour is not acceptable.”
Assistant Chief Constable Danny Long welcomed the tough stance by the courts and issued a statement:
“It’s completely unacceptable for people to behave in this way against officers, other emergency services staff, key workers or indeed any member of the public.
“At a time of heightened concern across the whole country a minority of people are using the threat of coronavirus as a weapon.
“It won’t be tolerated and offenders have now been sent a clear warning: there is the very real risk you will be sent to prison.”
A 54-year-old man was also given a prison sentence on Monday 6th April 202 for spitting in the face of a West Midlands Police officer in Birmingham city centre.
Officers attended a petrol station in Corporation Street at 9.45pm on Saturday 4th April 2020 following reports of a drunken man causing problems, pouring fuel on the floor and obstructing traffic.
Anthony Evans, of no fixed address but originally from Atherstone in Warwickshire, tried kicking out at them and as they detained him he spat in a police officer’s face.
Evans was jailed for 16 weeks at Birmingham Crown Court.
A court spokesperson, said:
“The court will not hesitate to support officers as they go about their business to protect others by imposing swift punishment.
“In the front line during this Covid-19 crisis are the emergency services; they deserve, and will have, proper and timely protection from the courts.”
On the same day another man, Bevan Burke, was jailed after he spat at a shopkeeper who had banned him from the store for shoplifting.
Burke stormed into Allen’s Croft Post Office, Northfield, on Friday 3rd April 2020 and spat at the victim shouting:
“I have corona…you’re going to die”.
Police officers identified Burke as the offender and arrested him later that day from his home in Reservoir Close, where they found him hiding in a cupboard.
While being transported to police custody the 22-year-old began coughing and blowing towards officers and shouted:
“I’ve got confirmed coronavirus and now you’ve got it. I hope you and your family die”.
He was jailed for 42 weeks at Birmingham Crown Court having admitted assaulting emergency workers and the shop keeper, plus shoplifting at the convenience store on 10th January 2020.
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