A 41 year-old man has been jailed for assault after claiming he was infected with coronavirus and spitting at police officers on 12 April 2020.
On Sunday 12 April 2020 at around 12.30am, police visited the home of Tony John Gallichan in Sterte Close, Poole, to arrest him for an unconnected incident.
After placing him in handcuffs, he was moved to the police car outside, but as he was moved he became abusive and threatening, suggesting he would ‘knock out’ the officers or infect them with coronavirus. He was taken to Poole police station but when an officer opened the door, Mr Gallichan spat in the officer’s face.
A female officer stepped in and drove him to Bournemouth police station but during the course of the journey, Mr Gallichan continued to be abusive towards her and spat in her face.
Mr Gallichan told the officers: “You’ll catch coronavirus if I get one of you in the eye.” However, in the subsequent interview at Bournemouth police station, he confessed that he had neither experienced symptoms of the illness, or tested positive for it at any time.
Dorset Police Chief Constable James Vaughan said: “We have been working together with our emergency services colleagues and partner agencies to highlight the unacceptable trend in abuse of frontline staff during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
“This case demonstrates how we are experiencing people using infecting our officers with coronavirus as a threat and this is something we cannot tolerate.
“Our officers are working hard to keep our communities safe and should not come into work to face the threat of being infected by this horrible disease.
“Spitting at officers is a despicable offence at any time but during the current public health emergency it is particularly abhorrent.
“We will continue to deal swiftly and robustly with any offences of this nature and ensure offenders are brought before the court to face justice.”