Man who coughed at Community Protection Officer claiming to have COVID-19 is jailed

10/09/2020 Steven Ravenscroft
Jailed: Stephen Ravenscroft Credit: Newark and Sherwood district council

A MAN who claimed to have coronavirus as he repeatedly coughed at a Community Protection Officer has been jailed for 30 weeks.

Stephen Ravenscroft, 41, of no fixed abode, was found guilty of assaulting the Newark and Sherwood District Council key worker, in July. He was also ordered to pay £300 in compensation and crown prosecution service costs.

The judge at Nottingham Magistrates Court heard that Andrew Weaver was conducting routine town centre patrols near Newark Castle Station when he intervened during a disagreement between Ravenscroft and a train station employee.

Community Protection Officer Andrew Weaver Credit: Newark and Sherwood district council

Ravenscroft was alleged to have been begging outside of the nearby nursery and causing a nuisance to passers-by, refusing to move off the station site.

When asked to move elsewhere by Mr Weaver, Ravenscroft refused and proceeded to verbally abuse the Community Protection Officer, followed shortly after by coughing in Mr Weaver’s face and shouting, “I have coronavirus”.

Mr Weaver was tested for COVID-19 on the same day of the assault and was taken off duty while waiting for his test result.

Councillor David Lloyd, the leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council, said the authority wanted to reassure the public that it was taking instances such as this extremely seriously and bringing the perpetrators of these crimes to justice.