Coronavirus: Police investigate coughing ‘hate crime’ against blind woman

Victim left ‘anxious and shocked’ after incident while walking in Wiltshire

Rod Minchin
Monday 06 April 2020 17:44
When could the lockdown end?

A blind woman has suffered an alleged hate crime after someone coughed in her face amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The woman, who is in her 50s, was walking with her guide dog in Melksham, Wiltshire, on Saturday evening when the incident took place, police said.

The dog indicated someone was nearby, so the victim shouted out that she could not carry out social distancing because she was unable to see, and asked the person to keep away.

But instead, the person approached the victim and coughed in her face, with the woman feeling their breath against her cheek.

Sergeant David Hambly, who is investigating the incident, appealed for witnesses to come forward.


“Due to the current climate, the victim felt especially anxious and shocked by this person’s actions and immediately went home and washed her face and hands,” he said.

“This is completely unacceptable behaviour and we are treating this as an incident of hate crime — the suspect in this case has shown complete disregard for this woman’s health and vulnerabilities, and I know members of the local community will be both saddened and disappointed to hear of this person’s actions.

“Unfortunately, we do not have a description of the suspect, but we would urge anyone who may have seen this interaction to get in touch — do you live in Halifax Road?

“Do you have CCTV fitted to your property? Or were you driving in the area with a dash cam fitted to your vehicle?

“If so, you may have captured footage of the suspect so please do call us.”

As of Sunday evening, 4,934 patients in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus had died.

Press Association