A MAN who spat at three paramedics as they tried to help during the midst of the coronavirus pandemic has been jailed.

Edward Loyal was stumbling in the middle of Charlton Road, Andover, when ambulance staff came across him in a drunken state.

As they began to take care of him, he became aggressive and spat at them, which made contact with one of the paramedics, Steven Adjei.

Loyal was arrested and later pleaded guilty to three counts of assaulting an emergency worker. On Monday he appeared at Winchester Crown Court to be sentenced.

The court heard that the offences took place on August 15, in the middle of the Covid-19 crisis, and left the three paramedics concerned about infection.

In a victim impact statement, one of the victims Thomas Simcox said: “I don’t expect to be spat at when I am working, especially during the current pandemic. I don’t know if this male had coronavirus, but I am very concerned for my family’s health.

“This incident makes anxious about approaching the public in the fear they will spit at me.”

The unpleasant incident occurred after the 37-year-old had been drinking at his niece’s birthday party in Lillywhite Crescent.

He had been drinking since 4pm by 11.30pm "he was very drunk". On leaving the house there was some shouting and swearing and Loyal was verbally aggressive.

The court was told that Loyal had become hostile after he was berated by a family member.

He was ejected from the house and CCTV played to the court showed the defendant spitting at his sister and smashing the rear window of his brother in law’s car, before leaving with his partner in their car.

In mitigation, Belinda Knight said her client took full responsibility for his actions in a police interview the following morning when he became sober.

She said: “In this situation he hasn’t even tried to justify or defend what happened. He has an entrenched alcohol pattern.

“He has been abstaining through Covid.”

Ms Knight told the court that Loyal’s recollection of the incident was “pretty scant” and that the situation was a “heated episode”.

He now has a full time job and has joined Alcoholics Anonymous.

He also pleaded guilty to criminal damage and using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour at an earlier hearing at Basingstoke Magistrates Court.

In sentencing Judge Susan Evans QC said: “Sometimes I’m afraid sorry is not enough. Paramedics in particular need to know the court will act when they are assaulted.”

Loyal, of Priory Court, Romford, Essex, was jailed for four months.