Man who spat in police officer’s face and claimed to have Coronavirus is locked up


A  man spat in a police officer’s face while claiming to have Coronavirus after a report of a fight in St Ann’s.

Joshua Staples, 25, was locked up for a total of 18 months at Nottingham Crown Court today (Wednesday 6 January 2021) after pleading guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm, affray and common assault.

Officers had received a report of multiple people fighting in Sketchley Street during the early hours of 21 August 2020.

Police swiftly arrived and arrested Staples before taking him to hospital after he’d sustained hand injuries during the incident.

Staples, of Thorndale Road, Basford, continued to act in a volatile manner while at the hospital and refused to co-operate with medical staff and police.

When challenged by a police officer Staples spat in his face, hitting him in his eye, and claimed he had Covid-19 symptoms.

It was later confirmed that he did not have Coronavirus.

The officer he spat at is safe and well.

Nottinghamshire Police Assistant Chief Constable Gerard Milano said: “We will not tolerate anyone who deliberately spits at or coughs on our officers as they continue to carry out their vital duties, especially during these worrying and challenging times.

“Our officers are putting their duty to the public ahead of their own welfare at this current time. They put themselves at risk every single to day in order to protect our communities – they should not and will not have to put up with this.

“This officer drove Staples to the hospital and tried to help him but was repaid for his care and consideration by being spat in his face, causing him great distress.“In these worrying times for us all having someone spitting at front line officers, threatening them with Coronavirus, is despicable.

“This type of appalling behaviour towards our staff will not be tolerated in any shape or form and I’m pleased that Staples has now been punished for his crimes.”

Key workers from across Nottinghamshire have come together following a spate of incidents where frontline workers have been coughed on or spat at while on the frontline of dealing with the Coronavirus outbreak.

A video has been launched by doctors, nurses, paramedics, police officers, prison officers, firefighters and other frontline workers from across the county as they continue to work hard to spearhead the nationwide response to the outbreak.

The video, which asks that people treat key workers with respect, has been backed by a promise from the senior police officer coordinating Nottinghamshire Police’s response to the outbreak that those putting the health and wellbeing of the county’s key workers at risk can expect the harshest possible treatment.

The video message was launched on social media as part of a coordinated effort by public bodies from across Nottinghamshire to take a zero-tolerance approach on assaults targeting the county’s key workers.

The campaign has already received support from the NHS, Nottinghamshire Police, Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, East Midlands Ambulance Service, the Ministry of Justice, a number of the county’s local authorities and other bodies.

The video itself features key workers talking about their keyworker roles, as well as telling the story of the mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters behind the uniform and shedding light on the effects that the assaults have had on their loved ones.