Preston man who coughed on officer and made corona remark is jailed

A known shoplifter coughed in a police officer's face and told him: " Well now you have got corona as well".

Wednesday, 24th June 2020, 9:50 am

Ironically, criminal Andrew Ritchie then tried to use fears over the coronavirus situation in custody to avoid going to prison.

He is starting a nine month jail sentence after a judge heard he was subject to a suspended jail term and conditional discharge at the time of the offence.

Judge Philip Parry told him: " This offence was after the country had gone into lockdown and at a time when the country was coming to terms with just how serious this disease was, and that it was spread by droplets of spittle from one person to another.

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Preston Crown Court

"You chose your actions and your words sufficiently carefully to do what you could to Sgt Pearson to demean him, to assault him and to frighten him."

The court heard mounted officer, Sgt Adam Pearson, thankfully did not develop symptoms or need a test.

Prosecuting, Mercedeh Jabbari said on March 29, and colleagues were in Preston city centre when they were made aware of three men who were suspected to have been stealing from a shop.

She added: " They saw three men matching the description at the junction of Jackson Street and Lancaster Road.

Andrew Ritchie

"The defendant was described as being obstructive and tried to walk away.

"At this stage Sgt Pearson dismounted to explain the reasons for being present but the defendant was just not listening.

"He became passive aggressive, throwing his arms around. The officer was trying to explain but the defendant clenched his fist. He started to hit his head against a window behind him.

"He asked him to calm down. The defendant started saying he was going to kill the staff at Home Bargains and 'sort the officer out'.

"He started moving around and was taken to the ground by the officers to get the handcuffs on.

"Whilst lying on the ground handcuffed he coughed in the officer's face and said: " Well now you have got corona as well".

Defending, Beverley Hackett said he had a troubled background.