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 Man jailed for Coronavirus threats


A man who told police officers he would spit in their eyes so they contracted coronavirus has been jailed for 24 weeks.
William Hall became aggressive and abusive towards officers after he was arrested for driving offences and assaulting police officers in Sherborne Close, in Darlington, on Wednesday afternoon (April 29).
The 39-year-old had been seen driving erratically and was shouting and swearing at members of the public.
While being taken to custody in the back of a police van, he began screaming and threatened both of the escorting officers, making homophobic comments towards one and saying he would rape the other, as well as making several racist comments.
Hall then threatened to cough and spit at the officers, saying he hoped they would contract the virus and die.
He was charged with six counts of assaulting a police officer, drink driving, racially aggravated harassment and two counts of using threatening or abusive words or behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.
Hall, of Sherborne Close, Darlington, was remanded in custody to appear before magistrates via video link on Thursday morning (April 30), where he admitted all the offences and was jailed for 24 weeks. He was also disqualified from driving for 12 months.
Assistant Chief Constable John Ward, from Durham Constabulary, said: “Our officers are regularly putting their own lives at risk to protect our communities and keep people safe. They should never have to face this kind of abuse while simply doing their job.
“Threatening to spit at someone is disgusting behaviour at the best of times, but it is even more despicable given the current circumstances.
“At a time when our communities are pulling together to protect one another, it is disappointing to see that a small minority are still showing a complete disregard for the law and for others.
“I hope this serves as a warning that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated in County Durham and Darlington.”