A man has been jailed for nearly two years after spitting in a stranger’s face just three days after testing positive for coronavirus.
Gary Nougher, 62, was found guilty of assaulting the victim and spitting at him in Hythe, Kent on June 13.
Nougher got into a heated altercation with a member of the public who was trying to stop him kicking the door of a building society.
Canterbury Crown Court heard Nougher threatened to punch the man and pushed him with a clenched fist.
The victim asked Nougher to stand back at which point he shouted “I have got COVID" and spat in the man's face.
Kent Police arrested him the next day and confirmed Nougher had tested positive just three days prior to the altercation.
The victim was told to self-isolate but later tested negative for coronavirus.
Nougher admitted charges of affray and assault and was handed a 21-month jail sentence.
Inspector James Wyles, of Kent Police, branded Nougher "callous" for the way he endangered the victim and others as he should have been quarantining.
He said: "Nougher should have been self-isolating at the time of this incident, following his positive test, but instead he went out and committed this callous offence.
"The circumstances must have been extremely worrying for the victim and I hope our investigation, and the sentence which has been handed down, will give him a sense that justice has been done."
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Officials warned earlier this year that spitting attacks on police officers were on the rise because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Figures from the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) for England and Wales showed a 14% rise in spitting compared with last year.
The NPCC said the increase was likely due to a rise in attacks where suspects spat at officers "while claiming to be infected with COVID-19".
In May, a railway ticket office worker died of coronavirus after being spat at while on duty.
Belly Mujinga, 47, was coughed on by a man who claimed to have COVID on 22 March while working at Victoria station in London.
She was later admitted to Barnet General Hospital and put on a ventilator, but died on 5 April after a short battle with the virus.
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