A Woman Has Been Jailed For Coughing At A Police Officer
Joanne Turner, 35, claimed she had the deadly bug when she 'forcefully coughed' at the police officer in Norwich, Norfolk.
She was confronted after being seen kicking a car outside the city's train station on Wednesday night (25 March).
Magistrates were told how police followed her to a nearby house where she became abusive and coughed in the unnamed officer's face.
Turner was jailed for 12 weeks after pleading guilty to being drunk and disorderly in a public place, criminal damage to property and common assault of an emergency worker.
Chief Superintendent Dave Marshall, from Norfolk Constabulary, said: "Any abuse and threatening behaviour towards the emergency services is unacceptable at any time. However, this sentence reflects the seriousness of threats and acts of coughing to put others in fear of contracting Covid-19.
"This should act as a clear warning that there will be serious consequences for anyone who behaves in such a threatening way towards others during this pandemic."
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The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) intervention comes after reports in recent days of police, shop workers and vulnerable groups being deliberately coughed on by people claiming to have the disease.
A press release from the CPS read: "Such behaviour is illegal and assaults specifically against emergency workers are punishable by up to 12 months in prison."
Putting it bluntly, stop coughing on people.
:x:STOP IT: The CPS is appalled by reports of police and others being deliberately coughed at by people claiming to have coronavirus.
This is not only vile but illegal and we will not hesitate to prosecute people for it.
- CPS (@cpsuk) March 26, 2020
Max Hill QC, Director of Public Prosecutions, said: "Emergency workers are more essential than ever as society comes together to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
"I am therefore appalled by reports of police officers and other frontline workers being deliberately coughed at by people claiming to have Covid-19.
"Let me be very clear: this is a crime and needs to stop. The CPS stands behind emergency and essential workers and will not hesitate to prosecute anybody who threatens them as they go about their vital duties."
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Featured Image Credit: PA