A MAN has been jailed after he attacked a woman and then deliberately coughed in a police officer's face despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Alex Wood, whose actions have been described as 'abhorrent', was charged on Tuesday, March 24, and convicted the following day.

Officers were called at 11.47pm on Tuesday to reports of an assault on a woman.

The 37-year-old, of Bridge End, Dorchester-upon-Thames, had attacked a woman aged in her thirties at an address in Wantage.

He grabbed her by the chest and hit her on the head with a can, using enough force it left a lump on her head.

ALSO READ: Oxfordshire coronavirus cases go up by 25 in a day

When officers arrived, Wood was arrested at the scene.

Upon his arrest, Wood coughed in the face of the arresting officer, who was wearing a protective face mask.

When asked why he had done that, Wood stated that a mask 'would not stop anything'.

Wood appeared at Oxford Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, where he pleaded guilty to one count of assault by beating, one count of assaulting an emergency worker and one count of criminal damage to property.

He was jailed for 12 weeks for assault by beating and 10 weeks for assaulting an emergency worker to run consecutively.

ALSO READ: People dying of Covid-19 today caught it a month ago, Oxford expert warns

He was also sentenced to four weeks’ imprisonment for criminal damage to run concurrently, giving a total sentence of 22 weeks’ imprisonment.

Deputy Local Policing Area Commander for South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse, Chief Inspector Matt Bullivant, said: “Our role is primarily to protect life and limb. That is any member of the public, victims of crime and persons suspected of crime.

“Wood made this deliberate act, seemingly trying to threaten an officer with potentially contracting something from him.

“This is obviously totally inappropriate behaviour at any time, but particularly at this time of the Covid-19 pandemic, and I’m pleased the courts have dealt with this appropriately, and also for the victim of the offence that we were called to initially.”

Chairman of Thames Valley Police Federation, Craig O’Leary, said: “This custodial sentence is welcomed as there is no place for behaviour such as this.

“Wood had assaulted a woman and then by his actions and words, deliberately coughed at the arresting officer.

ALSO READ: Man denies coughing on police officer and saying 'I have coronavirus, I hope you die'

“Coughing on an officer deliberately in the current climate is completely unacceptable.

“Our officer maintained his professionalism and was wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment.

“However, the behaviour of Wood was absolutely abhorrent and I am pleased that the courts saw the seriousness of all these offences and gave him an immediate custodial sentence."

He added: “Our police officers and other members of the emergency services are there to protect the public, and behaviour such as this towards them will not be tolerated.

“The vast majority of the community are showing tremendous support to our officers, and thankfully, incidents such as this are very rare.

“I am also pleased that the officer is receiving welfare support from their local management team.”