A thug who tested positive for coronavirus spat at police and told them 'you've got Covid now' after he was arrested for beating up his girlfriend, a court heard.

Patrick James Lee, 38, threatened to bite two officers while in hospital and coughed at them in a bid to spread the lethal virus.

One of the cops he tried to infect suffered from asthma, an underlying health condition thought to increase the risk of death if Covid is contracted.

Lee had been arrested for controlling and coercive behaviour towards his girlfriend in November when he was taken to York Hospital, York Crown Court heard.

He had banged her head repeatedly against a kitchen countertop and in a different incident jumped on her head.

When he left the house he would lock her inside and monitor her whereabouts using her phone, prosecutors said.

Two unlucky officers were assigned the task of keeping watch on him when he was admitted to a ward after his arrest, the court heard.

One of the cops who Lee coughed and spat at suffered from asthma

They arrived at 2am to find Lee walking around in just his boxer shorts and socks wreaking havoc and trying to talk to other patients.

When he was told he was putting others admitted to the ward at risk of contracting the virus, he replied: "Good. I hope they are both police officers."

Prosecutor Andrew Stranex said Lee hurled verbal abuse and fought off the cops when they tried to calm him down.

Eventually they managed to restrain him on the floor.

Mr Stranex said: "This defendant made determined efforts to cough and spit at the officers."

He told the court that Lee, who knew he was carrying the virus, yelled at them: "You've got Covid now."

"One of the policemen was particularly worried by Lee's actions because he was asthmatic."

Detailing the catalogue of horrific abuse against Lee's partner which prompted his arrest, the prosecutor said: "She told him that if he was going to kill her he should get on with it."

He also forced the abused woman to post that everything was all right between them on social media in a bid to deflect suspicions about his bullying.

Lee's barrister Chris Moran said Lee had drug and alcohol problems and had suffered two family bereavements in the past four years.

He said Lee's partner wanted to continue the relationship.

While remanded in prison he took Covid-19 hygiene training so he could work as a prison cleaner, the defence barrister said.

Passing sentence Recorder Mark McKone told Lee: "You were tested for Covid-19, your test was positive and you knew that.

"You showed a complete lack of respect for the police."

Lee, of York, pleaded guilty to assaulting two emergency service workers and one count of coercive and controlling behaviour.

The court heard he has previous convictions for domestic violence.

He was sentenced to 21 months imprisonment.