Dalkeith roofer who spat at police officer during Covid lockdown could face prison

A Covid thug deliberately put police officers at risk by coughing and spitting at them while he was being arrested.

Friday, 25th June 2021, 4:45 pm
Updated Friday, 25th June 2021, 4:51 pm

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Stuart Elliott coughed towards four officers and spat at one PC as he was being ejected from a house in Bonnyrigg, Midlothian, last year.

Elliott, also known as Heatherill, also assaulted one constable by attempting to head-butt him during the unsavoury incident.

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Covid thug will learn his fate at Edinburgh Sheriff Court next month
Covid thug will learn his fate at Edinburgh Sheriff Court next month

The 35-year-old lout pleaded guilty to two “very serious” offences when he appeared at the capital’s sheriff court.

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 property and he was said to be “initially compliant”.

But the roofer, from Penicuik, Midlothian, 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.

Mr Smith said he would reserve his full mitigation to the sentencing hearing.

Sheriff Douglas Keir said: “These are very serious matters you have pled guilty to particularly spitting and coughing at police officers during a pandemic.

“The courts take a very dim view of that sort of behaviour.”

Sentence was deferred to next month for social work reports to be prepared.

Elliott pleaded guilty to assaulting four police officers in the execution of the 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.

Weeks after the incident rank-and-file police officers demanded that anyone who commits a "Covid-19 assault" should be automatically held in custody until they appear in court.

Police Scotland had recorded more than 100 crimes in the first three weeks of lockdown where officers or staff were spat at or deliberately coughed on.

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