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Six-month jail term for coughing woman who spat at gardai

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Mum-of-two Rachel Morgan

Mum-of-two Rachel Morgan

Mum-of-two Rachel Morgan

A mother-of-two who caused "havoc" when she deliberately coughed and spat at gardai, threatening to give them the "f**king coronavirus", has been jailed for six months.

Rachel Morgan (36) kicked one garda in the face and became so violent a spit hood had to be put on her.

A court heard her outburst began after she walked "straight up to" gardai on patrol in Dublin city centre, and her only explanation for her behaviour was she had taken a mixture of "medication and substances".

Judge Paula Murphy said while Morgan did not have coronavirus and the threats were "empty", they had been distressing for gardai.

Morgan, who lives at a Dublin city centre hostel, admitted assaulting two gardai, threatening, abusive and insulting behaviour, resisting arrest and violent behaviour in a garda station.

Dublin District Court heard the accused approached two gardai at Aston Quay at 3.15pm last April 13, told them she had coronavirus and threatened to give it to them.

Kicked

Two other officers who were on patrol approached at Eden Quay and it was alleged she "ran at them, shouting 'I'll give you the f**king coronavirus'".

She was instructed not to come into their personal space a number of times but failed to comply, resisted arrest, tried to bite a garda and spat at him. He pointed her face to the ground and she kicked out, hitting him on the cheekbone.

At Pearse Street Garda Station, she threw herself on the floor and pretended to be sick.

She refused to go in an ambulance and when paramedics gave her a face mask, she pulled it off and "intentionally coughed" in a female garda's face.

A spit hood was placed on her and, when searched, she said her jacket was "full of syringes" and "hoped the gardai would get injured".

Morgan, who had 56 previous convictions, also admitted separate shoplifting charges.

She had emphysema and was on medication and while this was no excuse for what happened, it might be a reason, her solicitor Eoin Lysaght said.

Morgan could not understand her actions but put it down to a mixture of "whatever substances or medication" she had taken.