Man jailed for coughing on police – and saying he wanted their children to get COVID-19

A man who deliberately coughed on two police officers during the coronavirus lockdown has been jailed.

Michael Gray, 41, was sentenced to 19 weeks in prison after he admitted assaulting an emergency services worker and using threatening words and behaviour.

Two patrol officers had approached the defendant in Brixton last Thursday as he appeared to be harassing three women.

When they checked his details, they found he was wanted on warrant for failing to appear in court.

On his arrest, Gray intentionally coughed towards the officers and, while in custody, threatened to spit at them.

He stated that he hoped to infect them with COVID-19 so that they would pass it on to their children.

At a hearing before Croydon magistrates, Gray was given eight weeks for the assault on police officers and 11 weeks for a separate drug driving offence.

He was also fined £100 for the public order offence.

Gray, of south Norwood, south London, was also disqualified from driving for 26 months.

On Tuesday, Superintendent Kris Wright said: “This attack on our officers whilst carrying out their duties protecting the communities of Lambeth and Southwark is an attack on every one of us.

“Both officers displayed the finest qualities of the Met, in spite of threats to, and the risk of Covid-19 infection through this man’s actions, and even worse his desire to cause harm to the officers’ children.

“I am grateful to the court that it treated this matter with the seriousness it deserves.

“Whilst these type of assaults are thankfully rare, currently we all have a duty to do everything we can to ‘protect the protectors’.

“My officers are doing everything they can to keep the public safe and police to the very best of their abilities, and we are grateful that the vast majority of people are making every effort to comply with the measures the government has introduced.”