Man who coughed in face of police officer during Covid-19 pandemic is jailed
- Credit: Suffolk police
A man who coughed in the face of a police officer after being asked whether he had any symptoms of coronavirus has been jailed.
Police were called to Baker's Lane in Bury St Edmunds on June 2, 2020, following a disturbance and officers found Casey Saint, 24, in the back garden of the property, Ipswich Crown Court heard.
He became aggressive and abusive towards police, swearing several times and "fronting up" an officer, David Wilson, prosecuting told the court.
He was then arrested for using threatening words or behaviour and while he was being detained, an officer asked whether he had any symptoms of Covid-19.
Saint then coughed twice in the face of the officer and directed a number of other coughs towards him, Mr Wilson said.
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He was then also arrested for assault on an emergency worker.
Saint also faced two other charges of theft and possession of a knife following an incident in Bury St Edmunds town centre on December 10, 2019.
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Saint was in the town's Gym bar on Risbygate Street around 9pm when he spotted a mobile phone on a table while a man was playing pool.
He put the phone in his pocket and left the bar, the court heard.
Later that evening, the victim of the mobile phone theft and a group of friends saw Saint outside Tesco Express in the town centre.
They began to follow him towards the 'horseshoe' area near McDonalds but stopped when they saw him grip something which looked to be a knife, Mr Wilson said.
Police were called and viewed CCTV which showed Saint disposing of the knife. The knife was recovered and following analysis, Saint's DNA was found on it.
Saint, of Baker's Lane, Bury St Edmunds, pleaded guilty to all offences on October 14 last year, and was remanded in custody.
Phillip Farr, mitigating, said Saint had used his time on remand "as wisely as he possibly can" and works in the prison kitchen.
"He has always worked and has held down jobs at a number of places," Mr Farr said.
Sentencing Saint on Wednesday, Judge Emma Peters said: "In my view, anyone who coughs in the face of a police officer during a global pandemic is deserving of punishment."
Judge Peters sentenced Saint to a total of 11 months in prison and he will serve half before being released on licence.