Devon man spat at police during first lockdown

A drug user who spat at police during the first Covid lockdown has been sent on a rehab course.

Derek Woods became aggressive with officers from the British Transport police when whey arrested him for suspected drug possession outside Exeter’s St David’s station.

He lashed out as he was being handcuffed and then deliberately spat onto the boots of one of the policemen, Exeter Crown Court was told.

Woods, aged 36, of Smythen Street, Exeter, admitted assaulting an emergency worker and was ordered to undertake a 12 month drug rehabilitation requirement and 25 days of supervision under an 18 month community order.

One man was caught with a knife at a railway station
One man was caught with a knife at a railway station
(Image: Penny Cross)

Judge David Evans told him:”You deliberately spat at the officer with the spittle landing on his shoes. This was at the height of the national lockdown and he was understandably very concerned about that. It was a particularly unpleasant form of assault.”

Mr David Sapiecha, prosecuting, said police in duty at the station on April 9 this year saw what they suspected was an exchange of pills taking place in a Volkswagen Golf in the car park.

They detained and tried to search Woods, who swallowed a pill which he had in his hand and told the police it was prescribed medication.

He became agitated as they tried to search him and apply handcuffs and leg restraints and had to be taken to the ground twice, spitting at one of the officers during the incident.

The victim made a personal statement saying he was worried about possible transmission of coronavirus because the incident happened during lockdown.

Mr William Parkhill, defending, said Woods spat at the policeman’s toecap rather than any more sensitive area. He was using class A drugs at the time but is now committed to tackling a long-standing problem.

He is working with the addiction service Together and has been assessed as suitable for a drug rehabilitation requirement, which will not be an easy option for him.

Mr Parkhill said Woods has a criminal record for begging and drug dealing and knows he will go back to jail unless be overcomes his substance abuse.

Devon Live