Coronavirus: Man jailed for coughing on police officer

Thursday, April 2, 2020

A man has been jailed for six months after he coughed on a Metropolitan Police officer and claimed to have coronavirus.

Adam Lewis, 55, was sentenced at Westminster Magistrates’ Court yesterday after being convicted of an assault on an emergency worker.

It is thought to be London’s first jail sentence for a Covid-19 related incident involving a police officer.

The court heard how the PC first approached Lewis after a member of the public claimed they saw him trying the handles of car doors in the Westminster area at around 3:40pm on Tuesday.

As the officer attempted to detain him for a search, Lewis tried to resist and smashed a bottle of wine he was holding on the floor.

He verbally threatened the PC, telling him: “I am covid [sic] and I am going to cough in your face and you will get it.”

He then coughed on the officer, who was trying to keep him at arm’s length, making no attempt to shield his mouth.,

Lewis then fell to the floor and the PC bent down to restrain him, holding his head away as the suspect then attempted to cough up phlegm and spit in the officer’s face.

The defendant also claimed he was going to give the officer a “bad disease” as he threatened to bite him.

Assistance arrived and Lewis was arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm and taken into custody.

Chief Superintendent Helen Harper said such incidents are “rare” but “unnacceptable”.

“My officers are doing everything they can to keep the public safe and police to the very best of their abilities.

“While these type of assaults are thankfully a rare occurrence, this incident was horrendous and if we do encounter this type of unacceptable behaviour we will be robust in our response.

“I hope the sentence today conveys a strong message that it will not be tolerated.”

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