Beachgoer, 29, ‘headbutts and spits on a female police sergeant’ after he was ordered to get off the sand
- Andrew Merryfull was charged after allegedly headbutting and spitting on a cop
- The 29-year-old was with a 19-year-old woman on Maroubra Beach in Sydney
- They allegedly abused lifeguards when they were told to leave the closed beach
- When police tried to arrest the pair, the man allegedly attacked the sergeant
A 29-year-old man has been charged after allegedly headbutting and spitting on a female police officer after he was ordered to leave a closed beach.
Andrew Merryfull and a 19-year-old woman were told to leave Maroubra Beach, in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, at about 11.20am on Monday, after the beach was closed due to the government’s rules on social distancing.
The pair allegedly shouted abuse at the lifeguards, who called the police.
Officers stopped the couple on Mons Avenue, next to the beach, not long later.
Andrew Merryfull, 29, and a 19-year-old woman were arrested after they allegedly shouted abuse at lifeguards when they were ordered to leave Maroubra Beach on Monday
A number of beaches across the state have been closed to prevent mass gatherings. Pictured: Surfers cross a tape at Maroubra despite the beach being closed
When police tried to arrest Merryfull, he allegedly headbutted and spat on a female sergeant, cutting her lip and leaving her with a lump on her head.
The pair were arrested and the man has been charged with assaulting a police officer causing actual bodily harm, as well as resisting arrest, offensive behaviour and ignoring the order not to go on the beach.
NSW BEACH CLOSURES:
- Gordons Bay
- Little Bay
- Frenchman’s Bay
- Yarra Bay
- Mackenzies Bay
- North Palm Beach
- Palm Beach
The woman was handed a criminal infringement notice for offensive behaviour and ignoring the order not to go on the beach.
Merryfull appeared at Central Local Court on Monday and was refused bail.
He was scheduled to reappear on Tuesday, where he pleaded not guilty to all charges and was released on conditional bail.
He is due back in court on May 27.
From Monday, all public gatherings of more than two people are banned and the police can issue fines to people who break the rules.
NSW Minister for Police and Emergency Services, David Elliott, said police are in the frontline in the fight against coronavirus and deserve respect.
‘I’ve had a gutful of people abusing, harassing and assaulting our hardworking police officers who put their own safety on the line every day to protect the very people who attack them,’ Mr Elliott said.
‘If you choose to ignore a direction from police – one that is in place to save lives – then you can expect to be issued with a hefty fine or jail time.’
Police have been cracking down social distancing guidelines at beaches in NSW and Victoria after people continue to flout rules. Pictured: Officers order beachgoers at Brighton Beach in Melbourne to leave
NSW Police Force Commissioner Mick Fuller said this type of behaviour won’t deter police, who will continue to do their best to keep the community safe.
‘Our officers are committed to community safety and will continue to enforce all ministerial directions aimed to stop the spread of COVID-19,’ Commissioner Fuller said.
‘If you choose not to comply with directions put in place to protect the community against this virus, you can expect to face the full force of the law.’