‘Disgusting and reckless beyond belief’ - police officer’s anger at man who spat at nurses
PUBLISHED: 11:28 01 May 2020 | UPDATED: 11:28 01 May 2020
A police officer has spoken out against a man jailed for spitting at two West Suffolk Hospital nurses after claiming to have Covid-19 - calling his behaviour “utterly disgusting and reckless beyond belief”.
West Suffolk area commander, Superintendent Kim Warner, made the comments after Zeb Fitts was jailed earlier this week for the attack on the nurses, who were trying to treat him for a hand injury.
The 25-year-old had become “highly aggressive” after attacking a friend at a Bury St Edmunds flat, repeatedly punching him, kicking him and smashing a mirror.
He had to be restrained using straps while being arrested, before telling officers that he had Covid-19 and threatening to spit at them.
Fitts, who had been drinking heavily, needed medical treatment for injuries sustained to his hand.
Nurses came out to treat him in the back of the police van, as staff were not prepared to allow him in the accident and emergency department.
“Fitts was shouting and swearing,” prosecutor Richard White told a sentencing hearing at Ipswich Crown Court on Wednesday, April 29.
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“He was abusive to the nurses as they treated him and he spat at them.”
The nurses later confirmed that Fitts’ saliva landed on their faces and their personal protective equipment.
Judge Martyn Levett jailed Fitts, of no fixed address, for a total of eight months after the defendant pleaded guilty to two counts of assaulting an emergency worker, one of actual bodily harm and one of criminal damage.
“I take the view this was of supreme seriousness and that you pose an immediate risk to the public,” the judge said.
Supt Warner said: “I am pleased to see that justice has been delivered swiftly and Zeb Fitts has been sentenced appropriately.
“We are in the midst of a national crisis - one which our colleagues in the NHS are leading from the front - and to treat another person in this way – in particular someone trying to help you - is unacceptable at any time, but especially so at the moment.
“I repeat the words I used when Fitts was convicted – his actions were both utterly disgusting and reckless beyond belief.
“Assaults on emergency workers will not be tolerated and offenders can expect to be dealt with robustly, which as this case demonstrates will most likely result in a jail term.”
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