Coronavirus: Man jailed for coughing on police officer
1 April 2020, 20:44
It is believed to be the first prison sentence in London for a coronavirus-related incident involving a police officer.
A man who coughed on a police officer and claimed to have coronavirus has been jailed for six months.
Adam Lewis, 55, was sentenced at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday after being convicted of an assault on an emergency worker, the Metropolitan Police said.
The case is believed to be the first jail sentence in London for a Covid-19-related assault involving a police officer.
The Met said the officer had been flagged down by a member of the public while he was on cycle patrol in Westminster at around 3.40pm on Tuesday.
The officer was told that a man had been seen trying the handles of car doors in the area.
He subsequently approached Lewis and attempted to detain him for a search, at which point Lewis tried to resist and smashed a bottle of wine he was holding on the floor.
Police said Lewis then verbally threatened the officer, telling him: “I am Covid 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, and fell to the floor.
The officer bent down to restrain him, while holding his head away from Lewis, who attempted to cough up phlegm, before trying to spit in his face.
Lewis also threatened to bite the officer shortly after telling the him he had a “bad disease” and he was going to give it to him.
Police said Lewis was arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm and taken into custody at a central London police station.
Chief Superintendent Helen Harper said: “My officers are doing everything they can to keep the public safe and police to the very best of their abilities – and we appreciate that the vast majority of people are making every effort to comply with the measures the Government has introduced.
“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.”