Worthing man jailed after claiming to have coronavirus, spitting and sneezing on police officer

A Worthing man has been jailed for spitting at a police officer and claiming to be infected with coronavirus.

According to Sussex Police, Simon Rogers-Davis, of Brighton Road in Worthing, appeared at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on Friday (May 1) and pleaded guilty to assaulting an emergency worker, affray and racially aggravated harassment.

Police were called to The Wolsey Hotel, in Brighton Road at 12.45pm on Wednesday, April 29, following a report that a resident was damaging property and throwing food around.

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After being arrested, Rogers-Davis told police he was suffering from coronavirus symptoms and racially abused an officer, telling them this had 'all happened because you're Chinese'.

Simon Rogers-Davis

The 29-year-old then pretended to sneeze, spat at the officer and made further racially abusive comments, police said.

The victim, who does not wish to be named, said: "When I turn up to work I do not expect to be assaulted or racially abused while carrying out my duties as a police officer.

"I definitely do not expect to be spat at during the current climate of Covid-19. This was an anxiety provoking experience and was totally unnecessary. This potentially could not just have had an effect on me, but also put my colleagues and family at risk."

Rogers-Davis was sentenced to 26 weeks imprisonment for assaulting an emergency service worker, four weeks for affray and eight weeks for racially aggravated harassment, to be served concurrently, police said. He was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £128.

Sergeant Peter Allan of Adur and Worthing Prevention said: "I am pleased the court took these offences seriously, because of the flagrant disregard to one of our officers and the vile and personal racist abuse.

"I hope this result sends a strong message to those who seek to exploit public fear, to make personal attacks on those members of the emergency services who are working are hard to protect the community, of which they are members too."