A DISGUSTED judge has warned a drunk who repeatedly coughed on a police officer he could spend Christmas in prison.

Footage captured by a body camera worn by the officer showed John Gibson, 41, being “verbally aggressive, displaying completely over the top behaviour”.

The attack on the police constable took place in August in Colchester

Appearing at Ipswich Crown Court, Judge Emma Peters heard Gibson had previously admitted a charge of assaulting an emergency service worker.

But during a previous appearance at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court, Gibson had tried to argue the coughing was a result of a medical condition. This was dismissed by magistrates.

In a victim impact statement, the victim said he had successfully undergone counselling but had “slipped backwards” in his progress.

“I am living in fear of contracting coronavirus, especially when at work,” he said.

He said he had been constantly checking his temperature, both at home and at work, since the incident.

He said: “Although I am aware my role as a police officer comes with real risks, I should not have to come to work with the expectation of being assaulted.”

The PC said he had been “disgusted” by recent reports in the media of officers being deliberately coughed on during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Steven Dyble, mitigating, said Gibson, who works as a painter decorator, is an alcoholic who only ever committed offences while drunk.

He sought to persuade the judge that continuing Gibson’s good progress under a previous suspended sentence order was of more value than sending him straight to prison.

“As to the value of imposing a sentence for the sake of establishing a deterrent, I invite your honour to place a greater premium on seizing the opportunity that has arisen in an alcoholics life, where he is drink free and engaging with the probation service,” he said.

Judge Peters said Gibson, of St Osyth Road, Clacton, had behaved “appallingly."

She deferred sentence until December 11 and called for further information on his compliance with an alcohol treatment requirement before making her decision.

“I think your behaviour that night was utterly disgusting,” she said.

“When you came into court I had no hesitation in sending you straight to prison but your barrister makes some good points.”

She added: “You should prepare yourself to potentially go to prison.

“It is very possible you will spend Christmas in prison.”