Man who punched sneezing women and insulted disabled man guilty of spitting at baby

He will be sentenced at Carlisle Magistrates' Court on October 5
He will be sentenced at Carlisle Magistrates' Court on October 5

A man who admitted committing a string of assaults on people who touched their noses has been found guilty of spitting at a six-month-old baby.

Schizophrenic Stephen Jackson, 49, of Dixon Court, Carlisle, pleaded guilty to four allegations of assault by beating and a further charge of common assault on five women between February and March.

Jackson admitted that when the women took out tissues to wipe their noses - or touched their noses, Jackson slapped and hit them across the head, saying "don't sneeze in front of me".

Jackson pleaded guilty to assault by beating against the five women at Carlisle Magistrates' Court.

But he denied two further public order offences.

A judge found him guilty of spitting at a baby after the court was told she was being pushed in her pram by her mother in Carlisle.

He was also found guilty using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour to a male - who has Downs Syndrome after calling him a "mongrel" whilst he waited with his foster carer outside the city's Tesco.

District Judge Gerald Chalk described the latter offence as a "disability hate crime" and warned him that he faced jail, describing his actions as "grossly offensive".

The case was adjourned for pre-sentence reports.

Outlining the case prosecutor Mr Peter Kelly told Carlisle Magistrates' Court that the two public order offences were "random incidents without any apparent logic on two different days".

The court heard that the baby's mother had been out in Carlisle on February 3, pushing her infant child in her pram when Jackson put his foot on the pram.

He said: "She became aware of a man approaching, for no apparent reason he simply spits at the child in the pram. The spittle fortunately doesn't strike the baby because of the way the baby is protected by the carriage. It was obviously a very upsetting and distressing incident for her."

Giving evidence from behind a screen, the mother told the court that she had been walking towards Millennium Bridge at around noon when she saw Jackson walking towards her.

She said: "It seemed he was veering more in my direction even though I was pushing a pram. I moved myself as far as possible which was a wall. As he got up to me he put his foot in front of the pram and at that point he spat into the pram. His spit landed on the pram cover itself.

"It happened quite quickly as I turned around he was looking back at me. A woman said something to the effect 'did that just happen?'."

She described feeling, "completely shocked".

It was reported to police and the mother made a positive identification of Jackson.

On March 12 the male victim had been waiting for a taxi with his foster mother outside a Tesco.

The foster mother told the court that Jackson walked past them and commented to the victim "horrible mongrel" and "ugly".

She said: "(The victim) was verbally abused and was called a horrible mongrel. He knows what mongrel means and he was upset.

"He didn't want to go back out again. At the time he was upset and I gave him a cuddle. I shouted at the gentleman. I hoped that he would come back to apologise. He is so vulnerable, we are used to a lot of abuse but this came out of the blue, there was nothing to provoke anything."

Jackson who said it was a case of mistaken identity said the allegations were "a pack of lies" and "very trumped up".

He made no comment in interviews.

Defending Miss Sarah Budniak said her client had "a number of psychiatric problems" but was of previous good character.

District Judge Chalk said: "As a combination they (offences) worry me a great deal. I have to tell you now I'm considering sending you to prison."

He will be sentenced at Carlisle Magistrates' Court on October 5.