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Man who farted in police officer's face jailed for 34 months

Jake Massey

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| Last updated 

Man who farted in police officer's face jailed for 34 months

A man who farted in a police officer's face has been sent down for 34 months.

Matthew Hapgood was nicked for shoplifting on 21 March, but during the course of the arrest he guffed in an officer's face.

The 41-year-old had made off with £33-worth of beer and cider from a Tesco, as well as vape products from a garage.

When police apprehended Hapgood he 'broke wind in the officer's face during the course of that arrest', a court heard.

Hapgood farted in an officer's face. Credit: SWNS
Hapgood farted in an officer's face. Credit: SWNS

Hapgood pleaded guilty to robbery, shoplifting, possession of a bladed article and criminal damage at Oxford Crown Court.

Judge Ian Pringle QC jailed him for 34 months on Friday (26 August).

He said: "You have a lengthy history, no less than 31 previous convictions for 83 offences, all really to do with a drug or alcohol addiction which has been with you for most of your adult life.''

Ronan McCann, mitigating, said his client's problems were linked to a 'long term addiction in relation to substances'.

Now, you might think this is a pretty unique crime, but a couple of years back a bloke in Austria was fined €500 (£425) for loudly farting near police officers, before having his fine reduced to €100 (£85) after he launched an appeal.

The unidentified man was whacked with a fine in Vienna after 'offending public decency' by 'farting provocatively' at police in June 2020.

However, he subsequently challenged the fine, in what must have been a very strange day in court for all concerned.

The man told the courts that breaking wind was merely a 'biological process'. He added that even if he had done it deliberately, his fart was covered by freedom of expression, thelocal.at reports.

In Austria, freedom of expression is not limited to just speech, but also covers noises and communication in other forms.

But the sound must have 'communicative intent', which this bloke's fart didn't, according to the court.

Apparently Austrian police don't like being farted at. Credit: Panther Media GmbH/Alamy Stock Photo
Apparently Austrian police don't like being farted at. Credit: Panther Media GmbH/Alamy Stock Photo

Nonetheless, the court decided to reduce the fine by €400, taking into account his lack of criminal record.

The judge said that although breaking wind is technically a form of communication it was a 'form of expression that transcends the boundaries of decency'. The man's actions were also branded 'ridiculous', which is fair enough.

But the judge concluded he only had 'average culpability' for the offence.

At the time of the offence, the police force posted on Twitter to reassure people that 'no one is reported for accidentally letting one go once'.

They went on to say the man had acted 'provocatively and uncooperatively' during the incident, which took place on a park bench.

The force claimed the man stood up, looked directly at the officers and 'let go a massive intestinal wind apparently with full intent' after he was asked to confirm his identity.

The police added: "Our colleagues don't like to be farted at so much."

Each to their own, I suppose.

Featured Image Credit: SWNS/Joseph Gaul/Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: Crime, UK News

Jake Massey
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