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Man with 160 prior convictions spat at woman during ‘height of lockdown’, court hears

PUBLISHED: 22:03 14 July 2020 | UPDATED: 22:03 14 July 2020

John Smith. PIC: Norfolk Police.

John Smith. PIC: Norfolk Police.

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A man with a “staggering” number of previous convictions spat at and threatened to kill and stab a woman who refused to give him money during the coronavirus lockdown, a court has heard.

John Smith, 48, had been begging and asking for money in Marine Parade, Great Yarmouth, at the “height” of the Covid-19 lockdown in May this year.

Norwich Crown Court heard the victim had been out for a walk with her partner when she had the “great misfortune” to come across Smith, who had been drinking.

When the victim refused to hand over any cash Smith “became aggressive“ saying he was “going to kill” her and threatened to stab her before he spat on her.

The victim had to pick up a chair to try and defend herself from Smith in what the court heard must have been an extremely disturbing incident.

Police were called and Smith had to have a spit hood put on him by officers as he became “extremely violent” when they came to arrest him.

Smith was released on May 26 in relation to these matters but himself called police on May 27 concerning criminal damage he claimed had happened at his home.

But when police arrived Smith, who had again been drinking, tried to spit at officers and was kicking out violently, making contact with one of them on the leg.

Smith, of Marine Parade, Yarmouth, appeared at court on Tuesday (July 14) to be sentenced after having previously admitted assault by beating, breaching a criminal behaviour order (CBO), assaulting an emergency worker and two counts of using threatening/abusive/insulting words.

Smith, who has 160 previous convictions for a total of 357 separate offences, was jailed for a total of 22 months in prison by Judge Stephen Holt who said he had a “staggering” number of previous convictions recorded against him.

Judge Holt said Smith’s behaviour towards the woman victim must have been “extremely disturbing” and would have been even more disturbing given that it happened at the height of the coronavirus lockdown.

Andrew Thompson, mitigating, said he should be given credit for his pleas.

He said he had a problem with alcohol and had been hard hit by the recent death of his father although hoped to start a new life in Suffolk after his sentence.


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