A BARROW man spat in the faces of police officers on two separate occasions - once while receiving treatment in A&E and a second while in custody.

The court heard how 31-year-old Stuart Grady committed one of the offences at Furness General Hospital on April 7.

After spending the night in the cells, he then spat through the hatch of his cell door into the face of a custody sergeant the following morning.

On Friday, Preston Crown Court was told that Grady, of Rawlinson Street, was initially arrested outside Morrisons on The Strand, Barrow, where he had been begging on April 7.

Jeremy Grout-Smith, prosecuting, said Grady’s ‘aggressive and abusive’ behaviour to first the public and then members of the store’s security team led to his initial arrest. He was also arrested for begging.

Whilst in custody he claimed to have had symptoms of coronavirus such as a cough and a high temperature for several weeks, but said he had been been tested for the disease and the result was negative.

He was taken to Furness General although Judge John Altham said this was done because of a separate ailment.

“In the reception area of A&E he continued to shout and be aggressive,” said Mr Grout-Smith.

Grady spat out at a noticeboard before officers made an attempt to restrain him.

The defendant then kicked out ‘many times’, fortunately causing no injuries, before spitting in the face of a special constable.

Mr Grout-Smith said: “I have viewed the camera footage of the officers and you can hear him repeatedly spitting or trying to spit at them.”

More officers arrived and Grady was taken into custody. The following morning, when custody sergeant Deborah Murray stood outside his door, the defendant ‘began to shout at her’.

“He was in an agitated frame of mind and suddenly he spat in her face through the hatch in the cell door,” said Mr Grout-Smith.

The court heard how the spit hit the custody sergeant’s eye, forehead and hair.

Mitigating, Philip Mahoney described how the defendant was ‘in the grip of drug withdrawal’ when he committed the offences and had suffered abuse as a child.

“In a profound and serious sense, he was a damaged man,” said Mr Mahoney.

“He has lived what appears to be from childhood a ruined life.”

Mr Mahoney said the defendant looked back on his actions with ‘a mixture of disgust and remorse’.

Sentencing Grady to 33 weeks imprisonment, Judge Altham described his actions as ‘deliberate, nasty (and) targeted’.

“The police officers would no doubt have had to go home and tell their families what had happened, would no doubt have had to take actions within their homes,” he said. Judge Altham noted spitting would have caused particular distress and anxiety due to coronavirus concerns.