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Two years' imprisonment for coronavirus police assault

|News, Violent crime , Hate crime

A Leicester woman has been sentenced to a total of two years in prison for assaulting police officers arresting her, including biting and coughing at them, claiming she was infected with the coronavirus.

Stacey Blackham was seen at a property in Fosse Road in Leicester by officers who knew she was wanted for an earlier breach of an antisocial behaviour injunction. Once she had been arrested and taken to a police car, she became agitated and violent, She bit one officer, drawing blood and shouted repeated racist abuse at another. She claimed she had coronavirus and continued to abuse officers, saying she hoped they would die from the virus. She coughed at or bit five police officers and spat on the floor while in custody.

She was charged with five assaults on emergency workers, and a further charge of racially aggravated threatening behaviour. She also pleaded guilty to separate charges of racially aggravated assault and theft. She pleaded guilty at Leicester Magistrates Court and sent to Leicester Crown Court for sentencing. She was today (Thursday 7 April) sentenced to a total of 24 months in prison for the various offences, which she was ordered to serve consecutively to each other.

Andrew Baxter from the CPS said: "Any attack on emergency workers is serious, but in this case, these officers were working hard to keep their community safe and these offences occurred at a time of great pressure on police officers. To deliberately cough at officers suggesting the reason is to spread the coronavirus is a deplorable way to behave, and inevitably will end up in serious charges being laid and significant sentences being handed down. In this case racist language was also used which added to the seriousness of the offending. The court’s significant sentence reflects the abhorrent nature of this behaviour."

The court recognised the racially aggravated nature of Stacey Blackham’s offences against one of her victims and the sentences for those offences were increased as hate crimes.

Notes to editors

  • Andrew Baxter is a deputy chief crown prosecutor for CPS East Midlands and the regional lead for hate crime.
  • The sentences were applied as follows:
    • Theft: 1 month, to be served consecutively to the other offences
    • Racially aggravated assault: 9 months, consecutive to other offences
    • Assaulting an emergency worker: 8 months for each separate victim, concurrent with each other but consecutive to other offences
    • Racially aggravated threatening behaviour: 6 months, consecutive to other offences
    • Total: 24 months

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