A disgraceful teenager who coughed in the face of a hospital consultant and shouted “coronavirus” after jumping into a river for a dare has walked free from court.
Millie Todd deliberately plunged into the River Wear, in Sunderland, in June and was taken to hospital to be checked over.
A court heard the 18-year-old restaurant worker became aggressive when she arrived at Sunderland Royal Hospital and erupted in fury when told she would have to be kept in.
Prosecutor Ellen Wright told Newcastle Crown Court: “The consultant spoke to the defendant for about 20 minutes and she was described as being quite calm during that time but she expressed a wish to be released from the hospital.
“He told her she couldn’t leave the hospital and in response the defendant stood up, coughed in his face and shouted ‘coronavirus’.”
The court heard the consultant and the ward assistant left the room and a police officer, who was at the hospital for something unrelated, cautioned and arrested Todd.
Miss Wright added: “The defendant stated ‘I will cough in his face again when I walk out, I will cough again if you want’.”
The court heard her threats were captured on the PCs body worn camera.
Todd said in interview she had been intoxicated and was “annoyed and upset” at being kept in hospital.
She said she “didn’t like the attitude” of the victim or the witness but later confessed she was “embarrassed” by her own behaviour.
Todd, of Fulwell Road, Sunderland, admitted assault on an emergency worker.
But, for the second day in a row, a despicable attack on a member of the emergency services has been dealt with by way of a suspended prison sentence after Luke Gallagher walked free yesterday for assaulting a paramedic.
Sentencing Todd, Recorder Chris Smith said: “This was during a global pandemic where, I think, more than 300 NHS and care workers have died in England and Wales as a result of the current health crisis.
“Here we have an assault on a front line worker, using the coronavirus as a weapon to cause fear.
“Even if she didn’t think she had coronavirus, there are asymptomatic carriers.”
The judge said Todd’s behaviour, at the “height of the pandemic”, was “disgraceful”.
However, the judge said there was a “degree of immaturity” to Todd’s offending and she does not pose a risk or danger to the public.
Todd was sentenced to two months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, with 150 hours unpaid work.
The judge said an immediate prison sentenced could have a “harmful impact” on Todd but warned she came perilously close” to serving the jail term immediately.
Tony Cornberg, defending, said Todd has not drank alcohol since that night and has now ruined her chances of working in health care, as she had wanted.
Mr Cornberg added: “This is going to stay with her forever.
“She is embarrassed and, to use her words, she’s not this person, this is not who she wants to be.
“She undertakes never to drink to the level of loss of self control ever again.”
The court heard Todd had written a letter to the court and to the hospital to express her remorse for what she did that night.