First Londoner convicted of coronavirus-related assault on a police officer

A man who coughed and spat at a police officer and attempted to bite him after claiming to have the coronavirus has been jailed for six months.

Apr 1, 2020
By Tony Thompson

Adam Lewis, 55, is believed to be the first person in the capital to be jailed for a Covid-19-related assault on a police officer.

Members of the public had observed Lewis trying the handles of car doors in Westminster on Tuesday afternoon (March 31) and flagged down the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) officer who was on cycle patrol in the area.

The police constable approached Lewis and attempted to detain him for a search, at which point Lewis tried to resist and smashed a bottle of wine he was holding on the floor.

Lewis then verbally threatened the PC, telling him: “I am covid [sic] and I am going to cough in your face and you will get it.” He then coughed on the PC, who was trying to keep him at arm’s reach, making no attempt to shield his mouth, and fell to the floor.

The PC bent down to restrain him, while holding his head away from Lewis, who attempted to cough up phlegm, before trying to spit in his face. Lewis also threatened to bite him, shortly after telling the PC that he had a bad disease and that he was going to give it to him.

After the PC called for assistance, MPS colleagues arrived and Lewis was arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm. He was taken into custody at a central London police station and appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court earlier today (April 1).

Chief Superintendent Helen Harper, from Area West Command Unit, said: “My officers are doing everything they can to keep the public safe and police to the very best of their abilities – and we appreciate that the vast majority of people are making every effort to comply with the measures the Government has introduced.

“While these types of assaults are thankfully a rare occurrence, this incident was horrendous and if we do encounter this type of unacceptable behaviour, we will be robust in our response. I hope the sentence today conveys a strong message that it will not be tolerated.”

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