A shielding thug who attacked a shopkeeper and customer in a row over sweets before coughing in the faces of police officers has been jailed.
Neal Mulligan had been self-isolating for several weeks prior to bringing chaos to Fairdeal Stores on Ballindean Road back in April.
Mulligan had hoped to be placed on a community-based order but a sheriff locked him up due to the gravity of the offences.
Dundee Sheriff Court heard Mulligan, 42, had knocked over a tub of sweets in the shop, which he was asked to pick up by owner Hassan Mirza.
However, the lout, who suffers from COPD, turned violent after 58-year-old customer Thomas Walton also asked him.
Prosecutor Eilidh Robertson said previously: “The accused turned round and punched him. Mr Mirza ran round the counter and the accused repeatedly punched him.
“He then picked up the sweets and threw them at Mr Mirza, then ran off.”
Police arrived and were met by a hostile Mulligan who was taken hold of by the officers.
Mulligan then “forcibly coughed” in the direction of one of the officers before saying he had been isolating because of his COPD and coronavirus symptoms.
His abusive behaviour continued despite being placed in a police car following his arrest.
The thug claimed he had left his phone in the shop and as officers went to retrieve it, Mulligan re-appeared and began racially abusing Mr Mirza.
Mulligan appeared for sentencing via video link from HMP Perth after previously pleading guilty.
Defence solicitor Ross Donnelly said he could offer little in terms of mitigation but believed that Mulligan’s remorse for the incident was genuine.
Sheriff Tom Hughes jailed Mulligan for 16 months which he backdated to August 25.
He said: “The scenario for the court is to look at the nature of the offence and I have taken the view that these charges are so grave that they require a custodial sentence to be imposed.”