A drunk mum-of-three spat at a police officer before telling them: “I’ve got a really bad cough, you know,” in a violent scrap with three other officers.

Kirsty Darlington, aged 29, was spotted by officers who attended Wallace Road in Newton Heath after they received reports of a disturbance.

Officers described that she was verbally abusive and aggressive with other people on the street, then saw her spit at a man, leading them to arrest her.

As they walked her to the police van, Darlington, of Newton Heath, began to kick out at the officers in a ‘violent melee’, Manchester Magistrates Court heard.

Kirsty Darlington

Arresting her again for assaulting an emergency worker, officers then noticed she had a small plastic bag in her mouth and tried to remove it.

As they did so, Darlington became violent, again kicking out at the officers in the thighs and arms.

During the fracas, she spat at one of the officers and said: “I’ve got a really bad cough, you know.”

Pleading guilty to three offences of assault on an emergency worker, one assault and an offence of drunk and disorderly, Darlington was handed 30 weeks imprisonment suspended for 18 months.

Outlining the facts of the case, prosecutor Robin Lynch said the offences took place on March 31 this year, at around 10.15pm, when officers attended an ongoing disturbance.

“They saw the defendant being verbally abusive and aggressive in the street,” Mr Lynch said.

“They also saw the defendant spit out at a member of the public.

“She was arrested for being drunk and disorderly and taken to a police van and they made a search of her before she kicked out causing her foot to collide with the officer's left shin.”

Manchester Magistrates' Court

After arresting her, officers went to place her in the back of the police van, the court was told.

Darlington then kicked out at another officer, hitting him in the chest.

During this, another police officer came to assist, and he too was kicked at during the brawl.

“Officers then saw a small plastic bag in her mouth and were concerned about that and wanted to remove that from her, but she repeatedly kicked out and hit them in the thigh and both arms,” Mr Lynch added.

Kirsty Darlington was sentenced to 30 weeks imprisonment suspended for 18 months

“One officer had a small amount of injuries as a result of this assault.

“Another officer had a small cut to his finger.

“PC Mooney was spat at during this and it landed in his right eye.

“The defendant did procure that spit and said: “I’ve got a really bad cough, you know.”

In a victim personal statement, PC Mooney said: “Because of the pandemic I did not appreciate being spat on due to the risk of infection and nor do I appreciate being assaulted whilst I’m carrying out my duties.”

Darlington was said to have one previous conviction from her youth, but was dealt with over ten years ago, the court was told.

In mitigation, her defence lawyer Jared McNally said: “She is deeply embarrassed and ashamed and she couldn’t bring herself to watch the body cam footage.

“I have seen the footage and it doesn’t make for pleasant viewing.

“She was extremely intoxicated and incoherent, she had no idea what she was doing.

“She was swearing and talking gibberish and didn’t make much sense.”

Mr McNally explained that before the incident there was a dispute between her partner and her neighbour, which led to the police being called.

“The police were called and she went about things the completely wrong way,” he said.

“They were victims of her behaviour and she was the one who was rightly arrested.

“There were some verbals and she did spit in his direction.

“There was a big melee.

“She was thrown into the back of the van, and officers determined she had something in her mouth.

“They removed what she had in her mouth and she completely lost her head, kicking out and more inappropriate - spitting at one of the officers.”

Mr McNally added that Darlington had suffered a difficult upbringing and has since had issues with alcohol.

Sentencing her, Manchester JPs said: “We have looked at this with careful consideration and as a whole this is a very serious offence.

“Because of spitting at a police officer in the height of the pandemic on March 31, the courts are not going to take these things lightly.”

Darlington, of Swift Walker, was also handed 60 hours unpaid work, a 12 month alcohol treatment programme and 10 days of rehabilitation activity requirements.

She was also ordered to pay £85 court costs, £122 victim surcharge and £100 compensation to PC Mooney.