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Drunk man who spat at police in Inverness and told them he had AIDS is jailed

By Ali Morrison

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Ian Whiteford.
Ian Whiteford.

A drunk Inverness man who spat in the faces of two police officers, then told them he was suffering from AIDS, was jailed for 14 months this morning.

Sheriff Sara Matheson told Ian Whiteford that his actions were "disgusting and deplorable" and the emergency services deserved the protection of the courts.

But she said she would give him credit for the efforts he had made to stay out of trouble and fight his drug addiction.

Sentence had been deferred for a background report last month.

Inverness Sheriff Court was told then that the officers had gone to assist Whiteford (47) who they saw bleeding and unsteady on his feet in St Valery Avenue on April 13.

When they asked about his welfare, he became hostile and aggressive towards them, shouting and swearing.

Fiscal depute David Morton told Sheriff Matheson that Whiteford was arrested and handcuffed as a result.

But Whiteford, who lived in the same street, spat twice in the face of one constable, striking him on the lips. He then turned and spat at the other.

A third officer arrived to assist his colleagues and as a spit hood was being applied, Whiteford spat into the face of the constable applying it.

Mr Morton said: "While doing so, he stated that he had AIDS. Owing to that comment, both officers had to go to A&E to receive medical treatment.

"Each officer required blood tests, an injection and a course of preventative medication. They are scheduled to have further blood tests in six months' time.

"It is only possible after that passage of time to conclusively medically confirm that they have not contracted any body fluid borne virus."

Whiteford admitted two charges of assault.

Defence solicitor Willie Young told the court that his client did not have AIDS and that he was "horrified" at his "deplorable behaviour."

He added: "He has no other matters outstanding, having stayed out of trouble for since 2018.

"He is in a stable relationship and it has had a positive effect on him, in that he has been tackling his drug issues and is now almost drug-free.

"He was worried at the time his relationship was coming to an end due to a sensitive issue his partner was facing and instead of resorting to drugs, he began to drink to excess.

"These few minutes of madness have been a setback for him."

Whiteford's sentence was backdated to April 14.

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