HIV positive artist jailed for spitting in a policeman’s eye and then telling him he was at risk of infection
The self-styled artist and sculptor spat at the arresting officer following a theft
An HIV positive man has been jailed for spitting in a policeman’s eye and then telling him he was at risk of infection.
The officer suffered months of anxiety after being attacked when he went to arrest X for stealing a contactless bank card and using it for a string of purchases.
The self-styled artist and sculptor was already on a suspended sentence for breaking into a warehouse in Bideford and he went on to be arrested for shoplifting spirits at Tesco.
He claimed he stole because he did not like the food on offer at Bideford’s food bank.
He was taken to the cells after returning more than an hour late from lunch and repeatedly shouting down the prosecutor as he outlined the case.
X, aged 38, of High Street, Bideford, admitted assault on police, two thefts, fraud, and breach of suspended sentence and was jailed for 48 weeks by Recorder Mr David Bartlett at Exeter Crown Court.
He told him:”You assaulted a police officer as he was arresting you for earlier offences. This was six weeks after you were given a chance with a suspended sentence.
“You assaulted the officer by spitting at him and asserting you were HIV positive. It was an unpleasant and unnecessary offence.”
Mr Nigel Wraith, prosecuting, said the first offence of theft happened before X received his suspended sentence in December 2016, but he was not identified as the culprit until January 2017.
He took a bank card from a pile of belongings as a man was moving house and used its contactless facility four times to buy £67.07 worth of goods from the Bideford Service Station.
He spat at the police officer who went to arrest him in January and after being released on bail was caught shoplifting two bottles of spirits at Tesco. He said he stole because he did not like what was on offer at the food bank.
Miss Emily Cook, defending, said X had a troubled background in which his West Indian family could not come to terms with his homosexuality.
Since moving to Devon, he has also encountered discrimination because of his colour, his HIV positive status, and adverse publicity in the local press about his previous convictions.