A 30-year-old man from the UK has been jailed for a year for coughing in the faces of two National Health Service (NHS) nurses and urinating on the hospital floor. Lance King, a suspected coronavirus patient, was admitted to the Royal Stoke University Hospital on Monday (April 6) and was convicted on Wednesday (April 8).
What did the nurses say in their statement?
In a statement, the nurse said: "The whole incident has really upset me and made me angry ... "I have a partner and two children. I am trying to do the best in what is quite a scary and demanding role".
"I am classed as high risk due to my job and worry for my family. Yes, I chose this job. However, I did not choose to be treated in this way. I did not come to work to be assaulted", she added.
Another nurse, who witnessed the incident said: "He moved forward towards my colleague and coughed in her face. It was intentional".
"The fact he had been admitted with the signs of Covid-19, it was a horrible thing to do. He started to make a noise in his throat as if he was about to bring up something and spit at me. He was looking straight at me".
"I thought he was definitely going to spit. He moved closer to me. He was laughing as he did this".
"We were wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) but nevertheless the incident upset me. I have never felt so vulnerable as I did after his actions", she added.
Lance King sentenced to a year in prison
On April 8 (Wednesday), Lance King was sentenced at North Staffordshire Justice Centre after pleading guilty to assaulting an emergency worker and criminal damage, Staffordshire Police said in a statement.
"There are occasions when unusual circumstances, under extreme circumstances, call for an extraordinary approach, and this is one of those occasions", District Judge Kevin Grego said in his judgement.
"Whatever your circumstances were, whether you felt paranoid, or miserable or fed up, you should not have been out in any event to behave in the way you did towards emergency workers".
"In a time of crisis like this people like you need to understand that emergency workers will be protected and those who behave in this way towards emergency workers can expect the full weight of punishment on their shoulders", he added further, metro.co reported.
Another man charged
Along with him, a 49-years old man was charged with persistently using the public communication network to cause annoyance/inconvenience/anxiety after allegedly making over 50 calls to police and ambulance between 6 and 7 April, the police said in the same statement. He is set to appear in court on May 7.
Staffordshire Police's statement
"Thankfully, on the whole people are complying with Government guidelines. However, as these cases show, we will take enforcement action when required", the Assistant Chief Constable Simon Tweats said in a statement.
"Coughing on nurses who are working to save people's lives is totally unacceptable".
"The message remains clear; stay at home and follow the guidelines. We don't want to have to take action but we will do so if required. Particularly against a small minority who repeatedly choose to put other lives at risk", he added.
As on Saturday (April 11), U.K. has reported 73,758 Covid-19 cases, along with 8,958 fatalities.