Coronavirus: Footage released of woman coughing at police officer

Footage has been released of a woman intentionally coughing at police as she was being arrested in South Tyneside.

Charlene Merrifield was stopped by police in Hebburn following reports a woman had attempted to attack a man with a knife and had been damaging cars.

Northumbria Police said she became "aggressive and abusive" and after being put in the back of a police van she coughed in the direction of an officer.

The 39-year-old, of no fixed address, admitted assault of an emergency worker, criminal damage and a public order offence when she appeared before South Tyneside Magistrates on 15 April, along with breach of a suspended sentence. She was jailed for 21 weeks.

Ch Insp Nicola Wearing said: "Our officers come to work each day in order to keep people safe and protect the communities they serve.

“Charlene Merrifield knew exactly what she was doing as she decided to intentionally cough at one of our officers, which is absolutely appalling. I hope this case highlights how seriously offences of this nature are being taken in the light of the current pandemic."

BBC News
Tyne & Wear