'Utterly deplorable' - Penicuik lout coughed and spat at Police Scotland officers
A lout who deliberately coughed and spat at police officers during “utterly deplorable” attacks has escaped a jail sentence.
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Stuart Elliott, 35, coughed towards four officers and spat at one PC during last year’s pandemic as he was being ejected from a house in Bonnyrigg, Midlothian.
The thug, who is also known as Heatherill, also assaulted one constable by attempting to head-butt him during the incident.
The construction worker was warned by a sheriff that he was escaping a custodial sentence with “some degree of hesitation”.
Elliott had previously admitted the offences which took place in April last year at a hearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court and was back in the dock for sentencing.
Sheriff Douglas Keir told him: “These are very, very serious offences you have pled guilty to.
“Your conduct was utterly deplorable and any assault on police officers should be dealt with the appropriate severity.
“[However] with some degree of hesitation I am prepared to impose a community payback order on you.
“Any failure to engage or comply with the order will likely end up in a custodial sentence.”
The sheriff placed Elliott, from Penicuik, Midlothian, on a 24 month supervision order and told him he must complete 250 hours of unpaid work in the community as a direct alternative to custody.
Previously fiscal depute Jack Caster told the court a woman turned up at Bonnyrigg police station to ask for a male to be “ejected” from her home at around 9.30pm on April 21 last year.
Mr Caster said officers attended at the property and found Elliott within the home and he was said to be “initially compliant”.
But the thug soon turned violent and “began coughing at officers” before spitting at and attempting to head-butt PC Kenneth McDonald.
The fiscal informed the court all the officers had to be tested for Covid 19 following the incident but fortunately all four PCs returned negative results.
Solicitor Paul Smith, defending, said the arresting officers had noted Elliott was “significantly under the influence of alcohol or drugs” at the time of the offence.
Elliott pleaded guilty to assaulting four police officers in the execution of their duty by repeatedly coughing at them during the global Covid 19 virus pandemic at Eskdale Crescent, Bonnyrigg, Midlothian, on April 21 last year.
He also admitted to assaulting PC Kenneth McDonald by attempting to butt him and spit at him during the same incident.