Berkshire residents who spat at police officers in pandemic

ASSAULTING an emergency worker is an offence often seen in court lists.

But during the pandemic a number of Berkshire residents were convicted of this crime after spitting at police officers.

Here are their names and the punishments they received for gobbing at our emergency workers.

Kester Owen

Kester Owen, 38, of Hatford Road, Reading, spat at a police officer in Reading on May 24, 2020.

This was during the first England lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic.

He was committed to prison for 15 weeks due to the severity of the offence and was told to pay £128 in a victim surcharge.

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Owen appeared at Reading Magistrates’ Court on May 6, 2021.

John Foster

Bracknell man Foster avoided jail despite assaulting two police officers in the space of two days.

The 35-year-old “deliberately” spat at a policeman in Wolverhampton on February 7, 2021, “knowing his health status and during a pandemic.”

He attacked another officer in the same town one day later.

A court file stated: “He ‘kicked off’ at the hospital while people tried to do their jobs, and then deliberately punched the second officer.”

He was sentenced to 40 weeks in prison for the ‘assault of an emergency worker’ offences — but this sentence was suspended for 18 months.

He walked free from court on Monday, May 17 with only an order to pay £400 in compensation.

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The Bracknell man, formerly of Charlotte Street, Birmingham, appeared at Dudley Magistrates Court in May.

Dariusz Sarota

Sarota, of Station Road, Wokingham, was jailed after committing a string of offences including spitting at a police officer, racist behaviour and damaging a petrol station desk.

He was told he will spend half a year in jail for the crimes he committed on New Year’s Day 2020 in Wokingham.

The 39-year-old was convicted of:

  • Assaulting an emergency worker by spitting at them
  • Two counts of racially aggravated harassment of a man
  • Criminal damage to a property, namely the night pay desk of a Shell petrol station
  • Another count of assaulting an emergency worker, which was another spitting incident.

He was committed to prison for 18 weeks for the first count of assaulting an emergency worker, six weeks for the second count, and another two weeks for the damage to the night desk.

Sarota was also told he would serve nine weeks concurrently for the racially aggravated harassment offences.

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In addition to the jail time, the 39-year-old was told to pay £300 compensation, court costs of £500 and a £128 victim surcharge.

Sarota appeared at Reading Magistrates’ Court on July 2, 2021.

Rosie Hicks

Mother-of-five Hicks spat at two police officers during the “height of the pandemic” after she was arrested for attacking a man with a claw hammer.

Rosie Hicks, of Blackburn Road, Bradford, will serve at least half-a-year behind bars following her “violent and enraged behaviour” in Slough in April last year.

The 26-year-old “deliberately” spat at the officers, a court heard, to “make them feel worried about coronavirus”.

Reading Crown Court heard how Hicks confronted a Slough family after hearing a “derogatory comment” on April 26, 2020 when she was living in the town.

She proceeded to hit the family’s door with a claw hammer, causing “extensive damage”, according to prosecutor Philip Levy.

Police were called and tried to arrest Hicks, who resisted and struggled.

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When being handled by officers, she spat at one officer before an anti-spit mask was placed over her head.

She subsequently was able to spit at a second officer through the mask, however.

Mr Levy said: “This makes the case more serious because it was in April 2020 when lockdown was at its height.”

Sentencing, Her Honour Judge Nott said: “You were violent and enraged. You were a risk to other people.

“A female police officer tried to take you to the ground but you turned your head and spat deliberately in her face.

“This was at the height of the pandemic.

“Not only was she disgusted by this but she had two weeks of uncertainty not knowing if she had contracted a disease.

“Even when a spit mask had been put over your head you carried on spitting.

“You managed to spit at a second officer and he was contaminated with your saliva.

“[When asked why she did this] you simply shrugged and said ‘it’s the risk you have to deal with’”.

The judge continued: “These were assaults on emergency workers.

“I have no doubt you deliberately spat at these two police officers one after the other at the height of the pandemic to make them feel worried about coronavirus.

“The reality is that for anybody who spits at emergency workers, but most of all in the height of a pandemic, a custodial sentence is inevitable.”

Judge Nott handed Hicks a 12-month prison sentence after the 26-year-old admitted to affray and assaulting an emergency worker.

She was sentenced at Reading Crown Court on Tuesday, August 10.

Slough Observer | News