Exmouth man jailed after spitting at police officers
PUBLISHED: 14:13 16 September 2019
A 'disgusting' detainee has been jailed for spitting at three different police officers and then telling them he had HIV and hepatitis.
Matthew Lewis became so angry when he was arrested for kicking his girlfriend that police reinforcements had to be called to control him outside his Exmouth home.
He was put in a spit hood after spitting in one officer's face before he tried to do exactly the same to two more policemen as soon as it was removed in the station's custody suite.
He carried out a protest in his cell, smearing excrement over the walls and urinating on the floor, and even tried to spit at police through the inspection hatch.
Lewis, aged 29, of Normandy Close, admitted actual bodily harm on his partner, three counts of assaulting an emergency worker by spitting, and one of criminal damage to his cell.
He was jailed for 15 months by Judge Peter Johnson at Exeter Crown Court, who told him that his spitting had been aggravated by the fear he had caused when he told police he was HIV positive.
Felicity Payne, prosecuting, said: "He spat directly at one officer, hitting him in the face and causing the spittle to run down his eyes and mouth.
"He said more than once: 'I've got HIV and Hep C'.
"He was verbally abusive and threatened the police that if he saw them in town, he would smack them.
"When additional officers arrived and tried to get him into the van, he kicked the door and commented 'I'm glad I spat in your colleague's face."
The officer who received the spit directly onto his face made a victim impact statement saying: "I am disgusted.
"I do the job to help other people and don't expect to be spat at.
"It was degrading and embarrassing and I had to have an injection, a course of anti-HIV drugs, and blood tests."
Francesca Whebell, defending, said Lewis has a problem with drug addiction which he was trying to deal with on his own by self medicating.
She said he is desperate to tackle the problem.