A DRUNK call centre worker claimed he had Covid-19 and told cops he hoped their families died after repeatedly coughing on them deliberately.
aul Rock (21) told the two cops: “Ha ha, I have Covid, I hope I give it to you and your family and they die”.
Rock (21), a call centre worker, of Pakenham Close, Crumlin, narrowly avoided jail over two charges of assaulting police on July 25 this year.
He was wearing a face mask when he appeared via video-link from his solicitor’s office at Antrim Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena, on Tuesday.
A prosecutor said police were called to a domestic incident in the early hours at Pakenham Close where his father was restraining the defendant on a sofa.
His mother told police their son had been verbally aggressive to family members after returning home from a family function.
She told officers she had been concerned about his attempts to get out into the street because of his behaviour and said her son headbutted her as she tried to prevent him leaving the house. Rock was verbally abusive to police and his parents and was arrested and taken to Antrim PSNI Station.
The prosecutor said: “During the journey, the defendant, on several occasions, coughed deliberately on the officers while saying things like, ‘Ha ha, I have Covid. I hope I give it to you and your family and they die’.”
The prosecutor said at that stage police were unaware of Rock’s Covid status.
District Judge Nigel Broderick asked if any of the police officers subsequently tested positive for Covid and the prosecutor replied no.
Defence barrister Neil Moore accepted it was an “absolutely appalling set of circumstances”.
He said Rock came from a very good background, had had a good education, worked since leaving school and was employed at a call centre.
Mr Moore said Rock still lives in his family home and it appeared to have been a “one-off incident in which far too much alcohol had been consumed”.
He said the Rock is “chastened” by what happened and the “true” situation is that he is a “respectful, hard-working, young man in comparison to the awful presentation he had on this particular evening”.
Judge Broderick said he would normally consider jail in such cases but every case had a context.
He ordered Rock to do 120 hours community service and warned he would likely go to jail if he failed to do it.