Man admits ‘coronavirus coughing' at police officers in east London

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An east London man has pleaded guilty to coughing over police officers and claiming he had Coronavirus.

Darren Rafferty, 45, from Dagenham, admitted three counts of assaulting an emergency worker as well as grievous bodily harm to his former partner, Kerry Manning, at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

All charges related to an incident in Gainsborough Road, Dagenham, on Monday at around 1.30pm.

Prosecutor Ciro D’Alessio said that Rafferty had been drinking and decided to visit his ex at her home.

A “physical altercation” broke out and Ms Manning was struck from behind while she walking down some stairs, the court heard.

Mr D'Alessio told the court that her leg had been stamped on and she was slashed on the shoulder with a knife, leaving her with a 6cm cut and multiple fractures to her knee.

He said that when police arrived Rafferty had then coughed towards Pc Laver, Pc Richardson and Pc Andrews and claimed he had CoviD-19

He said: “The defendant makes comments about being in isolation and having coronavirus and then deliberately coughs towards the officers.”

The court heard Rafferty, who wore a white face mask during the short hearing, had been checked for the virus at the police station and the force “did not have concerns”.

Mr D’Alessio added: “On any reading of the assault you either get someone threatening to give someone a communicable disease or you have someone trying to give it to them.”

Rafferty was remanded in custody to be sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Wednesday, April 1.

Evening Standard 

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Thursday, 09 April 2020

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