A Dundee man has been jailed for coughing at police officers and shouting: “I’ve got the corona. You’re all going to die.”
Graham Cosgrove, 37, was sentenced to eight months in prison despite coughing when he was on the other side of a cell door from the officers.
Sheriff Alastair Carmichael said: “Whilst you did cough in the direction of officers you were some distance away, they were behind a hatch, and the cell door wasn’t open.
“However, this is a serious matter. We are still at the stage of a pandemic and coronavirus is a dangerous thing.
“Behaviour like this towards police is simply unacceptable. You know that because of the nature of the offence and your previous convictions there is no alternative but a custodial sentence.”
Cosgrove, of Balmullo Square, admitted two charges of assaulting police officers by coughing on them, telling them he had the virus and that they were going to die.
The offences took place at Dundee police HQ on April 9.
Depute fiscal Charmaine Gilmartin told Dundee Sheriff Court officers had taken Cosgrove into custody after a dispute with another man at his home.
He was placed in a cell and five hours later he was told he was being charged, although charges were later dropped. Ms Gilmartin said: “He stated that he didn’t think it was fair that he was being arrested for chasing the witness from his block.
“They were speaking with the accused through the open cell hatch. He stood up from a seated position and began coughing in the direction of the hatch.”
Cosgrove said: “I’ve got the corona. Get the nurse. You’re all going to die.”
The prosecutor said: “Whilst he has been on remand he has not been tested for Covid-19, nor has he shown any symptoms.”
Solicitor Ann Duffy, defending, said: “A man had turned up at his home and threatened to rape his girlfriend, poison his dog and set fire to his house.
“His neighbour called the police. His girlfriend was extremely upset at the threats made and Mr Cosgrove went out to chase him away from the house.
“He was arrested and taken to police HQ. He had been trying to communicate with officers to tell them his side of the story and he felt extremely upset he had been locked up for an offence he had not committed.
“He accepts he sat up on the bed and coughed and stated the phrase read out to the court. The door remained shut and he was more than two metres away.
“He understands now that what was said during this time could have caused stress to the two female officers.”