Ashfield man told police officer he had Covid and coughed in his face after he was arrested for taking friend's car

An Ashfield man coughed in a police officer's face and told him he had Covid-19 after he was arrested on suspicion of driving over the limit.

Tuesday, 27th April 2021, 5:00 pm

Anthony Smedley had borrowed a friend’s car without his knowledge and he notified police because his pet dog had been in the vehicle at the time, Nottingham Crown Court heard on Tuesday, April 27.

Officers spotted the blue Volkswagen Passat and followed it into Banks Avenue, Kirkby, and then onto Sycamore Avenue, where they saw it driving back towards them and blocked the road to stop him.

Police later discovered that Smedley had crashed the car into a stationary vehicle but neither owner wanted to press charges, the court was told.

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Nottingham Crown Court, where Anthony Smedley was sentenced

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Prosecuting, Steven Taylor said that Smedley, 29, of Berry Avenue, Kirkby, had initially been compliant but had become aggressive as he was being transported to Mansfield Police Station, following the incident in the early hours of November 9 last year.

He said: “When they stopped him they noticed that he was the worse for drink and was unsteady on his feet and smelled of alcohol.

“He told them he had driven the car up there for someone else, and there was a dog in the back which belonged to the owner.

“When he was being transported to the custody suite he became abusive towards officers, calling them ‘f****** little paedos. The then said he had coronavirus and started coughing in the direction of the officer.

“The vehicle’s blue lights were activated in a bid to get him more quickly to the custody suite, where he was placed in a holding cell and continued to be abusive towards officers and had to be restrained.”

Police forced Smedley’s face against the car window in a bid to stop him from coughing on them and he later refused to provide a specimen.

Smedley, who has a raft of previous convictions for drink driving, admitted driving without insurance, driving while disqualified, failing to provide a specimen and assaulting an emergency worker at a hearing at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court on November 10 last year.

Mitigating, Laura Hocknell said that Smedley had been on remand for the past five-and-a-half months and had contracted Covid while in prison.

She said: “He has something of a past for this sort of offending. His partner had ended their relationship and he had gone out for a drink and ended up driving a friend’s car.

“He’s thoroughly ashamed about the assault on the officer and says that he’s deeply sorry.

"He’s been in custody now for five-and-a-half months and developed Covid while in custody, in January, which made him very unwell, and this made his time there even more difficult.”

Judge Jeremy Lea sentenced Smedley to a total of 40 weeks in prison, but acknowledged that he had already served the majority while on remand.

“What’s concerning is that you have a long history of driving while disqualified and that doesn’t happen by accident.”

He also banned Smedley from driving for a further three years.

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