Shopper who deliberately coughed on people at Covid-19 pandemic's peak is jailed

A man who filmed himself coughing and sneezing on shoppers at a supermarket has been jailed for driving offences.

Raymond Gary Coombs, 39, was sentenced at Christchurch District Court to 16 months’ prison and fined NZD $750 (£383) on Tuesday.

In April, he went to Fresh Choice supermarket in Barrington, Christchurch, New Zealand, and filmed himself deliberately coughing and sneezing in the direction of other customers.

He apologises and walks away with a smirk on his face.

Concerned shoppers stop by and stare at him as Coombs carries on performing the sick prank on other people.

Just a few days earlier on March 31, Coombs uploaded a video to Facebook saying he had been infected with Covid-19.

Coombs was arrested on April 5, the day after his stunt, for offensive behaviour and was tested for the virus and the results were negative.

Judge Raoul Neave on Tuesday called Coombs’ behaviour an “ill-considered prank” and his actions had earned him “significant notoriety”.

“Your behaviour was dangerous, selfish and stupid. It is the kind of nuisance behaviour that has plagued your career,” Judge Neave added.

He shared the footage on Facebook and was arrested the next day for driving offences

Coombs was also called “an idiot” by prime minister Jacinda Ardern.

He was convicted of drunk driving after he was caught in August last year, with a blood-alcohol level of 239mg/100ml – a reading described by Judge Neave as “an astronomical level”.

Coombs was later charged with a string of other offences including careless driving and refusing to provide a blood sample.

He pleaded guilty to all charges and apologised outside the court, saying: “I should have thought through, I didn’t think it through enough.”

“There is nothing else I can say but apologise to everybody and assure you all it will not happen again.”

Coombs was also disqualified from driving for 28 days after which he will be able to apply for a zero-alcohol licence.


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