A “DESPICABLE” university lecturer spat at police and told them she had coronavirus.

Jane Challenger-Gillett breathed in and then spat at officers who attended her home in Roundhill Terrace, Brighton.

The University of Brighton senior lecturer, also known as Jane Challenger-Gillitt, appeared before Brighton Magistrates’ Court and admitted two offences.

It was revealed she was in breach of a community order for abusing and assaulting officers who responded to a disturbance in October.

On April 1 she spat at PCs Alexander Ferguson and Stuart Ellis.

But she was spared a prison sentence because she is the sole carer for a “vulnerable” partner and has been battling an alcohol problem.

Challenger-Gillett, 55, is a senior lecturer in computing, engineering and maths at the university.

Previously she appeared in court in September 2018 for failing to provide a breath test when suspected of drink-driving.

She also assaulted a police officer, and was given a 20-week suspended prison sentence alongside a driving ban. Then she also appeared back in court in October for breaching a restraining order by brandishing a knife and shouting at a neighbour.

When police arrived, she attacked them, and attacked two more officers in custody. She was also convicted of assaulting two police officers at Brighton beach.

At Brighton Magistrates’ Court District Judge Tessa Szagun heard how Challenger-Gillett had used the threat of coronavirus against the officers.

She “used the threat of Covid-19 to gain an advantage over persons protecting the public”, the court heard.

It was described as “particularly despicable”. She breathed in and spat at the officers, causing fear to them and their families about the deadly virus. The court also noted that police numbers are stretched with absences as officers self-isolate.

District Judge Szagun imposed a six-month suspended sentence because of Challenger-Gillett’s “family circumstances” as the sole provider for her vulnerable partner.

Her previous convictions showed her “inability to moderate her drinking”, the court heard.

Challenger-Gillett was ordered to complete nine months of alcohol dependency treatment and pay £500 in compensation to each officer, with a £122 surcharge and £85 costs.

The University of Brighton confirmed she still worked there and said: “We are aware of the information that is in the public domain and we will be investigating this further.”

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