A hospital patient who claimed to have Covid-19 coughed in the faces of police officers saying he’d hoped to infect them and their children too.

Motherwell man Colin McPherson, who now says he’s embarrassed by his actions, was jailed for 15 months at Hamilton Sheriff Court on Friday.

He admitted assaulting four police officers by coughing at them in a treatment room at University Hospital Wishaw on August 18.

McPherson, 40, also admitted kicking one of the officers in the groin and behaving in a threatening or abusive manner.

Jennifer McLaren, prosecuting, said police were called to Muirhouse Tower, Motherwell, around 3pm.

Paramedics there were struggling to deal with McPherson who had been found under the influence of drink or drugs.

They were trying to get him into an ambulance, but he wouldn’t co-operate.

McPherson was taken to the hospital for checks, but yelled racist insults at two police officers and sectarian abuse at another.

Ms McLaren told the court: “The accused spat and he threatened to spit on the police officers, so a mask was put on him.

“He continued to be abusive, saying ‘I’m a white man. Get these two away from me.’

“He coughed at four officers in turn, saying ‘Ha, ha. I’ve got coronavirus and so have you. I hope your weans get it too.’

“Hospital staff examined him but were satisfied he was not displaying signs of the virus.”

Defence agency Nicky Matteo said McPherson’s past has been “peppered with drug abuse”, but he had been making a “determined effort” to turn his life around.

The solicitor stated: “The last thing he remembers is leaving his girlfriend’s home in Craigneuk.

“He has no idea how he became unwell, but he does suffer from diabetes, blackouts and seizures.

“My client is very embarrassed by his actions and has asked me to offer his apologies to the officers concerned.

“He has never had Covid-19. This was utterly stupid conduct by him.”

Sheriff Ray Small said McPherson’s criminal record “does him no favours”.

The High Court had made it clear that long sentences must be imposed for this kind of behaviour. Sheriff Small told McPherson he would have been jailed for 22 months but for his guilty plea.