Christchurch man who sneezed on shoppers sorry for 'senseless behaviour', admits offensive behaviour charge

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Raymond Coombs was remanded in custody on April 6 over the alleged incident three days earlier. Source: 1 NEWS

A Christchurch man who filmed himself coughing and sneezing on people in a supermarket has pleaded guilty to behaving in an offensive manner.

Raymond Gary Coombs, 38, appeared in the Christchurch District Court today over the April 3 incident.

During the hearing Mr Coombs, who was wearing a face mask around his neck, apologised to the court for his “foolish and senseless behaviour” adding that he regretted the act and that he “owes the country an apology”.

In a Facebook post, the Christchurch roofer said he had Covid-19 but the court was told that this was “a joke” and that he has never shown any symptoms.

He returned a negative test.

Earlier, Judge Jane McMeeken told him his “behaviour was appalling” and “serious offending”.

The prosecutor had said that a significant number of people who were in the supermarket at the time had rung police asking whether Mr Coombs does have the virus and what they should do about it.

Mr Coombs posted to his Facebook page a video of him walking around Fresh Choice in Barrington, coughing and sneezing loudly at other people.

He was later arrested.

In an earlier comment, the man offered his "sincere apologies", saying he had been "inspired by many prank pages" to do the video.

"I'm sorry for this prank that was played, It never should've happened, the alcohol had really taken effect and I have no sensor when I get this messy (sic)," he wrote.

The virus spreads through coughing and sneezing, with recent research showing it's possible for someone to spread the virus for several days before they show any symptoms.