SPITTING blood into a police officer's mouth during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic cost a man his freedom at Falkirk Sheriff Court this week.

Stephen Bell, a prisoner in HMP Low Moss, appeared via video-link for sentencing on Tuesday, August 25, in relation to several charges.

The 27-year-old previously pleaded guilty to the offences last month, and details were narrated to the court on that occasion by Procurator Fiscal Depute Michael Maguire.

He said officers were called on April 18 this year, after Bell showed up at a relative's property in Tullibody and became abusive.

Bell entered the property and pursued a woman and 15-year-old child up the stairs, causing them to lock themselves in a bathroom, fearing for their own safety.

When police arrived, they found Bell with multiple injuries to his face, which they examined and concluded were minor.

They arrested him and placed him in the cage in the back of a police van, then drove him to Falkirk Police Station – with him striking the inside of the cage during the journey.

At some point officers became increasingly concerned about Bell's injuries, and opted to take him to Forth Valley Royal Hospital first.

After arriving at the hospital, a police constable tried to talk to him, but Bell shouted: "Don't talk to me, ya black f**k."

He was then admitted to the hospital's accident and emergency department.

Mr Maguire said: "The Covid–19 pandemic was at its peak at this time."

Shortly after being admitted to hospital, Bell kicked off and started to struggle with two police constables.

During this struggle, he deliberately spat at the faces of the officers, with Mr Maguire adding: "Spittle with blood went into a police officers' mouth."

Solicitor Kelly Howe tendered a plea in mitigation in relation to the charges of threatening or abusive behaviour, one of uttering a racist remark, and two assault charges admitted by Bell.

She said in the lead up to the offence, he had been prohibited from having contact with his children, and he was under the influence of drugs at the time of the offences.

The lawyer added that he was "disgusted" after realising how he had behaved the following day.

Sheriff Christopher Shead said he had no alternative but to imprison Bell for 14 months.