Serial criminal shouted ‘have some covid’ as he threatened to spit on retired police officer

A would-be thief threatened to spit on a retired police officer saying “you can have some covid then”.

Wednesday, 7th July 2021, 3:31 pm
The galleries in Washington

John Parish chased serial criminal John Dorward, 47, as he fled with goods from Boots’ store at the Galleries shopping centre in Washington.

In response to being caught, toothless Dorward, of Collingwood Court, Sulgrave, Washington, raised his fist – but did not strike.

But he warned Mr Parish, who left the force in 2006 after 30 years’ service, ‘You can have some Covid then’ – and made a gurgling noise.

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Prosecutor Leanne Duffy said the criminal, who has 76 previous convictions from 197 offences, did not carry out the threat.

However, magistrates in South Tyneside told Dorward, who had been out of trouble since 2015, he had gone “beyond the pale”.

Ms Duffy said: “The victim in the matter was a retired police officer.

“He was walking at the Boots store at the Galleries when he heard a security alarm.

“He saw the defendant run from the store, carrying goods.

“He heard someone say that he had taken items, and he ran after him and detained him.

“The defendant went towards a female member of staff and the former officer intervened.”

She added: “The defendant clenched his fist as if to punch.

“He said, ‘You can have some Covid then’, and made a gurgling sound.

“The defendant didn’t spit but Mr Parish did fear that he was going to.”

In a victim statement read to the court, Mr Parish said: “I find it difficult to witness crime and not do anything about it.

“There was no need to threaten me with a fist or with spit.”

Greg Flaxen, defending, said: “He accepts that there’s been threats made, and a gurgling.

“He had his mask on, he couldn’t have spat because of the mask.

“You’ve a man here who doesn’t touch alcohol but unfortunately has used heroin in the past, which I think is a dangerous recipe with mental health.”

Dorward, who was not charged with theft but with causing harassment, alarm or distress, to which he pleaded guilty.

He was sentenced to a 12-month conditional discharge, and must pay £85 court costs and a £22 victim surcharge.

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