A man who spat at a bus driver and a police officer in the same day over a trivial request to enter a bus through a different door now faces a prison sentence.
23-year-old William Cawley hopped onto a Transport for London bus through the wrong door. When he was told of his error, and asked to use the middle door instead he became abusive towards the driver in Uxbridge and then spat in his face.
Nearby officers, who were already patrolling the bus station, were flagged down. Cawley was identified as the man involved and ran from the scene; he was detained a short time later following a foot pursuit.
Arrested on suspicion of common assault, he was taken to custody where he became aggressive and spat at a police officer. Various threats of violence were also made toward the officer, as Cawley stated he was infected with COVID-19. He was further arrested for common assault of an emergency worker.
Appearing at Uxbridge Magistrates Court on Wednesday, he pleased guilty to two counts of common assault and was remanded in custody until his sentencing on Wednesday 29 April.
Detective Chief Inspector Fiona Martin, of Roads & Transport Policing, said: “Spitting at someone is a disgusting thing to do in normal circumstances but at this uncertain time of Covid-19, it is offensive, reprehensible and dangerous.
“Key workers such as bus drivers are essential to keeping London moving and they are currently doing this under very difficult circumstances.
“They, alongside our officers who are all working hard as ever to keep London safe, do not come to work to be spat at.
“I hope the fact that Cawley has been remanded until sentencing shows that this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated and will be dealt with great severity at all times.”
Siwan Hayward, Director of Compliance, Policing and On-street Services at TfL, said: “Spitting is a vile and abhorrent form of assault at any time, leaving a lasting impact on victims. That anyone could consider spitting on frontline workers during this national health emergency is absolutely shocking.
“Our bus drivers are nothing short of heroic, supporting the efforts to tackle coronavirus by providing transport for critical workers in the NHS, who are saving lives.
“We condemn this appalling incident in the strongest possible terms and will push for the maximum sentence. Safety is our absolute priority and we will continue doing all that we can to protect our staff.”