A racist who spat in another woman’s face before coughing at police officers and claiming she had coronavirus has been jailed.
Carol Cowan, 52, racially abused a woman in the street in Croydon, south London on Monday morning.
Her victim managed to attract the attention of passing police officers, who succeeded in capturing Cowan.
Once inside their vehicle, Cowan told the two Metropolitan Police officers that she had Covid-19 and began to cough in their faces.
She pleaded guilty at Croydon Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday to racially aggravated assault on the woman, and common assault on the two officers.
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She was jailed for 26 weeks for the assault on the officers and 20 weeks for the offence against the woman, with the two sentences to run concurrently.
Cowan, of Crystal Palace, in south east London, was also ordered to pay compensation of £100 to each of her three victims.
Speaking after her sentence, Inspector Duncan Anderson of Croydon police said: ‘Spitting or coughing in the face at anyone is disgusting and unacceptable behaviour at any time but given the concerns around Covid-19 that we all currently face it is appalling.’
Amid a surge in such vile, virus-related attacks, the director of public prosecutions, Max Hill QC, warned anyone deliberately spitting or coughing at emergency workers faces up to a year in jail.
He recently revealed 313 people have already been charged with coughing or spitting at police and paramedics while claiming to have the virus.
Mr Hill said: ‘It is disgraceful that hardworking essential workers continue to be abused during a health emergency and I have warned repeatedly that anyone doing so faces serious criminal charges.
‘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.’
In Scotland, there have also been more than 100 incidents where a suspect has spat, coughed or sneezed at police while claiming to be infected.
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