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Man admits assaulting PC by deliberately coughing during COVID lockdown

The Eden Police tweet

A MAN has admitted assaulting a police officer by deliberately coughing at him while being arrested in a Cumbrian village during the Covid-19 lockdown.

When Ralph Brook, 46, appeared at Carlisle Crown Court over a video link this morning (FRI), he pleaded guilty to assaulting PC Iain Parsons during an incident which occurred in Brough, near Kirkby Stephen, on May 1.

During today’s hearing the judge, Recorder Katherine Pierpoint, noted that there was audio from a police officer’s body-cam in which, she said, Brook states: “Why am I being arrested? Coz you can. COVID.”

“And then (Brook) coughs,” said the judge.

Posting on Twitter after the incident, Eden Police stated of Brook’s detention on that date: “Suspect deliberately coughed at police…upon arrest.

“It saddens me having to write this, we are all humans. Simply shouldn’t happen. We are going to work like anyone else.”

Because Brook’s barrister, Richard English, said he hadn’t yet heard the crucial audio footage, Recorder Pierpoint adjourned the case in order that he could listen to it and take instructions from the defendant.

Brook, of Swindale Cottage, Brough, is due to be sentenced on July 31 for that assault offence and two sets of other crimes. He had previously admitted shoplifting more than £2,000 worth of goods from two Penrith supermarkets, and twice driving both while disqualified and without insurance.

His crimes also put him in breach of a suspended 18-month prison sentence he was given last year for rogue trading offences which, a judge heard, involved a “nasty” and “brazen” bid to scam a vulnerable Kendal householder out of cash.

“These are clearly serious matters,” Recorder Pierpoint told Brook, who was remanded in custody until his sentencing hearing. “All options will be open to the court, including an immediate custodial sentence.”

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