Man who claimed he had Covid-19 and spat at Hampshire police officer jailed

A MAN who claimed to be infected with Covid-19 before spitting at a police officer in Farnborough has been jailed six months.

By Richard Lemmer
Friday, 24th April 2020, 5:09 pm
Updated Friday, 24th April 2020, 5:10 pm

Jason Porter appeared at Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court yesterday and was sentenced to six months behind bars for the spitting assault and a racially aggravated assault/racially aggravated public order offence.

He was also ordered to pay compensation.

PC Stan Howe attended a concern for welfare call at a property in Farnborough on Wednesday, April 1 when Porter – who was at the time self-isolating because of Covid-19 - spat at the officer and claimed he was infected with the virus.

Hampshire police officer Stan Howe had to self-isolate after he was the victim of a spitting assault by a man who claimed to have Covid-19. Picture: Hampshire Police Federation.

As a result of the attack, PC Howe was forced to self-isolate for two weeks, with his wife Lisa, an NHS staff member, taking to social media to defend her ‘hero’ husband.

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She posted: ‘Last night a Hampshire officer was spat on by someone who was self-isolating.

‘Some will say “well, this is a hazard of the job”…. to us this police officer is a hero, husband, daddy, brother, uncle and this is totally unacceptable.’

The incident did not cause PC Howe to contract the virus – but anyone spitting at emergency services staff should be sent to jail, according to Hampshire Police Federation Chairman, Alex Charge.

He said: ‘This case shows the wider harm caused to society by people who assault emergency service workers.

‘There needs to be a clear message; if you behave like this, then you go to prison.

‘Anyone who spits at or threatens Covid-19 infection to police officers needs to be sent to prison.’

It comes as Hampshire police said there had been a spike in criminals spitting at them.

Hampshire Police Assistant Chief Constable Scott Chilton said the attack was ‘weaponising’ the virus and had forced a dedicated officer to remove himself from the frontline.

He said: ‘In any situation, spitting is vile behaviour, but I am even more appalled and disgusted that it is now being used as a weapon by people in these extremely challenging times.

‘I hope this outcome serves as a warning to anyone who behaves in this unacceptable manner – you will be arrested, and you will face the consequences of your actions.’

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