The vile thugs who attacked emergency workers during coronavirus pandemic

These are some of the despicable thugs who have been sentenced over the past few months for attacking emergency workers as they tried to do their jobs.

Members of the emergency services have been subjected to vile assaults including being spat and coughed at by louts who claimed to have Covid-19.

In 2019, more than 11,000 people were prosecuted for assaulting an emergency worker, with a quarter of those found guilty receiving a suspended sentence or immediate custody.

Now, ChronicleLive has launched a campaign calling for a Government review over the lack of prison sentences handed out to thugs who attack our 999 heroes.

In light of this, here are some of the offenders who have come before the courts this year.

Millie Todd

Millie Todd
(Image: Newcastle Chronicle)

A disgraceful teenager coughed in the face of a hospital consultant and shouted “coronavirus” after jumping into a river for a dare.

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.

Todd, , of Fulwell Road, Sunderland, was sentenced to two months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, with 150 hours unpaid work.

Luke Gallagher

Luke Gallagher
(Image: Newcastle Chronicle)

A paramedic was subjected to a disgraceful attack by a dog chain-wielding thug who also left an ambulance out of commission by smashing its window with bricks.

When a crew of lifesavers were called to an address in Blyth, they were met with violence for no reason by despicable Luke Gallagher.

A court heard he armed himself with a dog chain, which he swung at someone and clipped one North East Ambulance Service paramedic with it as he followed through, before punching the ambulance man in the face, taking him to the ground and ripping his shirt.

When the paramedic and his colleagues sought refuge in their ambulance, Gallagher picked up bricks and smashed a window of the vehicle, causing more than £1,000 of damage and injuring another member of the ambulance crew with the broken glass.

The 28-year-old lout then turned his violence on a police officer who turned up, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

Gallagher pleaded guilty to three offences of assaulting an emergency worker, criminal damage and resisting arrest – but has been spared prison.

Gallagher, of Blyth Street, Seaton Delaval, Northumberland, who has 20 previous convictions, was sentenced to eight months suspended for 18 months and must pay £1,000 compensation for the damage to the ambulance and £400 to the main victim.

Gary Devine

Gary Devine leaves North Tyneside Magistrates' Court in North Shields after admitting assaulting paramedics
Gary Devine leaves North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court in North Shields after admitting assaulting paramedics
(Image: Newcastle Chronicle)

A vile drunk was jailed after he left paramedics fearing they may catch Covid-19 when he spat at them as they tried to help him.

The emergency services were called by a member of the public to an area of Forest Hall, in North Tyneside, after Gary Devine reported suffering from chest pains.

But, the 49-year-old lout soon turned aggressive and ripped off monitoring equipment, which had been attached to his body, before flying into a rage.

Devine then spat at the two paramedics and caused damage to their ambulance when he punched its door, a court heard.

The police were called and Devine, of Whitley Road, Whitley Bay, was arrested and charged with two counts of assaulting an emergency worker and one of criminal damage.

He pleaded guilty to all the offences when he appeared at North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court and was locked up for 18 weeks.

Joseph Dunn

Joseph Dunn
(Image: Newcastle Chronicle)

Abhorrent Joseph Dunn defecated in a police van and wrote his name in excrement before spitting at officers in shameful scenes.

Dunn had only been out of prison for a few days when police went to arrest him so he could be recalled to custody.

After initially responding calmly, he then behaved in an “vile” way towards the police officers.

As well as staging the sickening dirty protest, he spat in one officer’s face, tried to smear excrement in their faces, claimed he had hepatitis and told an officer he would kill and rape her when he got out of prison.

The 47-year-old, who admitted assaulting an emergency worker and criminal damage, was jailed for a total of eight months by Judge Sarah Mallett.

Ashav Singh

Ashav Singh, who has bee jailed for assaultingtwo police officers and threatening a paramedics
Ashav Singh, who has bee jailed for assaultingtwo police officers and threatening a paramedic
(Image: newcaste chronicle)

A drunk thug bit a police officer, kicked another and threatened to stab a paramedic during a shocking violent outburst.

Ashav Singh, who had not long been released from prison for similar offending, has been jailed again after admitting the assaults and threat because “he had no recollection of them”.

North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court was told that the 41-year-old himself rang for help and, when paramedics turned up at the scene, in Newcastle city centre, they found he was so drunk, he could barely stand.

But, as they tried to help him, Singh turned aggressive and refused to get into an ambulance, telling one worker “If you don’t go away, I’m going to stab you”.

Because of concerns for his welfare, the paramedics followed Singh, from a distance, as he staggered on to Westgate Road and the police were called.

Singh, of Wingrove Road, Fenham, Newcastle, was taken to a police station, where he continued with his aggressive behaviour and threatened to spit on the officers and “bite their face off”.

The court heard that he then lashed out and bit and scratched one PC on the hand and twice kicked another in the calf and arm.

Singh, who pleaded guilty to two counts of assaulting an emergency worker and one public order offence, was jailed for 16 weeks.

Robert Eley

Robert Eley, who has been jailed for affray at Newcastle Crown Court
(Image: newcastle chronicler)

A drunk yob punched a police constable in the face and tried to set his dogs on other officers after he was asked to leave his partner’s home.

Robert Eley flew into a rage inside his girlfriend’s Wallsend flat after she called 999 asking for help in getting him to calm down.

But the 37-year-old’s mood escalated further when officers asked him to leave the address, prompting him to shout abuse and make threats, Newcastle Crown Court was told.

He was then captured on camera trying to get his barking dogs to attack the police but, fortunately, the animals didn’t obey.

However, while he was subsequently getting arrested and handcuffed, Eley lashed out and punched one officer in the face.

Eley, of Stanley Street, Wallsend, North Tyneside, pleaded guilty to one count of affray and one of assaulting an emergency worker.

He was a given a 10-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid work.

David Mitchell

David Mitchell leaving North Tyneside Magistrates' Court after admitting coughing at a police officer
David Mitchell leaving North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court after admitting coughing at a police officer
(Image: Newcastle Chronicle)

A racist lout told police he had symptoms of Covid-19 before coughing in an officer’s face whilst he was being arrested for verbally abusing takeaway staff.

Drunk David Mitchell had been bought a free meal by kind strangers at the Moulin Rouge Cafe, on Westgate Road, in Newcastle, but his demeanour suddenly changed when they left.

The 40-year-old then turned to the staff at the takeaway and told them no longer wanted the food but wanted the cash instead, a court was told.

And, after his request was refused, Mitchell flew into a rage and began verbally abusing the workers, claiming he was from the Mafia and telling one employee “You Turkish b*****d, you only came here to get rich”.

The police were called but, rather than calm down, the lout’s behaviour escalated and he told officer’s he had symptoms of Covid-19 before coughing in one PC’s face.

Mitchell, of Strathmore Crescent, Benwell, pleaded guilty to a racially aggravated public order offence, a normal public order offence and assaulting an emergency worker.

He was given a 26-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, and must abide by a 12-week curfew between 7pm and 7am.

He was also ordered to pay £100 compensation to the police officer and was banned from entering Moulin Rouge.

Patrick Storey

Video Loading

This is the moment a vile thug spits in the face of a police officer while claiming to have Covid-19 and AIDS.

Patrick Storey, a carer whose partner is a nurse, told the officer he would “happily” go to jail “as long as you die, m***********”.

A court heard as well as spitting at the policeman inside a police van during lockdown, he licked the interior.

Newcastle Crown Court heard since the outbreak of the pandemic the 37-year-old, who is a carer for his brother, who has leukaemia, has helped his partner prepare care packs containing treats for her colleagues at the hospital where she works as an auxiliary and takes care of their child while she’s on night shift.

But after drinking a bottle of vodka and taking cannabis on April 14, Storey was detained by officers when trouble broke out in Hendon, Sunderland and embarked on a “vile and frenzied meltdown”.

Storey, of Salem Street South, Sunderland, admitted two charges of assault on an emergency worker.

Judge Edward Bindloss sentenced him to six months behind bars.

Mark Wright

Mark Wright, who has been jailed for coughing at a police officer after saying he has Covid-19
Mark Wright, who has been jailed for coughing at a police officer after saying he has Covid-19
(Image: newcaste chronicle)

A despicable drunken lout told police he had Covid-19 then lunged at an officer and coughed in his face.

Disgusting Mark Wright was being spoken to about his rowdy and abusive behaviour in Newcastle city centre when he claimed to have the deadly virus.

Seconds later and without warning, the 23-year-old lunged at one of the officers and coughed loudly in his face, spraying him with saliva, a court heard.

The appalling incident was captured on camera and played to North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

Wright, of Bath Lane, in Newcastle city centre, initially pleaded not guilty to assaulting an emergency worker by claiming he hadn’t said he had coronavirus.

But, after the body-worn footage was shown to his solicitor, he decided to change his plea.

He was locked up for 26 weeks after a judge branded his behaviour “truly appalling”.

Michael Hetherington

Michael Hetherington
Michael Hetherington
(Image: Northumbria Police)

A violent shoplifter claimed he had coronavirus and coughed in the faces of police officers trying to arrest him.

Michael Hetherington, 33, is now behind bars for 11 months following the disgusting assault at his home last month.

A court heard how the prolific shoplifter had been identified by police from CCTV images after two assaults in Gateshead.

On February 16 he was stopped by staff at the Sainsbury’s on the Team Valley estate as he was a known shoplifter with a string of previous convictions.

He became aggressive and after being asked to calm down by a member of staff he grabbed a body-worn camera from around their neck and kicked it down the street.

He fled the area but a month later was stopped again by staff at the Aldi on Sunderland Road in Gateshead.

When they prevented him from entering the shop he took a drink from a pop bottle before throwing its contents onto staff.

Police were able to identify him from CCTV and attended his home near Gateshead town centre to arrest him.

But after they forced entry to his address, Hetherington threatened them with an ashtray and claimed he had Covid-19.

Police tackled him to the ground and placed him under arrest at which point the violent thief coughed in the faces of the two officers.

Footage from the police bodycams shows him saying: “If you want to get corona, you can get corona. I’m not bothered. I’ve got corona, I’m telling you.”

He was later charged with two counts of assault of an emergency worker and two counts of common assault.

On April 27 he appeared before South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court where he was sentenced to 11 months behind bars.

Chronicle Live – Sunderland