A WOMAN who bit, kicked, scratched, and coughed at police officers as she shouted she had ‘coronavirus’ has been branded ‘despicable’ after being jailed for 12 months.

Victoria Geldard lashed out at the officers before she coughed and “hawked” at them after she was arrested in Stockton, Teesside, in the early hours of April 13 after she caused a nuisance in the street.

The 22-year-old was described as drunk when officers arrived at the scene where they discovered her laid out on the floor. 

Judge Paul Watson QC, sentencing at Teesside Crown Court, said Geldard's behaviour was “utterly inexcusable” and that emergency workers who put themselves at risk to keep the public safe deserved the protection of the courts.

He told the defendant: “Tragically we know one worker has died as a result of being spat at by an infected individual.
“Your conduct was nothing short of despicable, leading as it did to a lengthy period of anxiety for each of those officers left worrying if they had been infected.”

Geldard, of Poplar Mount, Bramley, Leeds, pleaded guilty to a total of nine assault charges including offences of coughing towards a police officer during the Covid 19 pandemic.

Richard Bennett, prosecuting, said Cleveland Police officers were called to Ingelton Road, Stockton, at 2.25am following reports of a woman causing a nuisance.

She claimed to have been assaulted and officers wanted to help her back to Leeds, but when she was unrestrained in the back of the police car she began to lash out.

She bit one officer and kicked another as they handcuffed her.

And the assaults – this time by coughing – continued in the custody suite, saying: “I’ll f**ing cough all over you, I’ll give you all coronavirus.”

One officer's victim statement said it had “affected me massively due to me constantly thinking about my young daughter at home and that this could now be transferred onto her, putting her life at risk”.

Another with a six week old baby said: “People are dying from this and it is not a nice feeling knowing that I am now putting my family at risk due to her actions.”

The court heard there was no indication any of the officers were infected, or that the defendant had the virus.

Nigel Soppitt, defending, said Geldard was in an abusive relationship at the time and was visiting the area with her partner when they both got drunk and she was thrown out of the house.

He said: “She accepts her behaviour was wholly inexcusable.”