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 after being convicted of an assault on an emergency worker.
The case is believed to mark the first jail sentence in London imposed for a Covid-19-related incident involving a police officer.
The police officer was flagged down by a member of the public while he was on cycle patrol in Westminster at around 3.40pm on Tuesday and informed that Lewis had been seen trying the handles of car doors in the area.
When the officer approached Lewis and attempted to search him, Lewis resisted and smashed a bottle of wine he was holding on the floor.
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 reach, 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 him, shortly after telling the officer that he had a bad disease and that he was going to give it to him.
After the officer called for assistance, more police officers arrived and Lewis was arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm and taken into custody at a central London police station.
Chief superintendent Helen Harper, from Area West Command Unit, 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 types 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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