A WOMAN with nearly 100 previous convictions who slapped a police sergeant before spitting in the face of a custody officer avoided going straight to jail.

Michaela Tia Johnson, 42, of Dolphin Street, Pill, Newport, walked out of the city’s crown court using the same door she entered it through.

The defendant, who the judge said has an “appalling record”, attacked Sergeant Rebecca Watkins and custody detention officer Eleanor Gibbins at Newport Central police station.

David Pinnell, prosecuting, said Johnson was “abusive and hostile” to officers when she was taken there last month after being arrested on an unrelated matter.


He told the court as the defendant was being booked into the station at the custody desk, she was found with a small amount of cannabis.

The next day, officer Gibbins and Sergeant Watkins went into her cell to ask her to change into clothing supplied by the police.

Mr Pinnell said: “The defendant said she wouldn’t because she was concerned about being cold.

“She was pacified with the offer of blankets to protect her modesty and for her to remain warm.

“The defendant then slapped Sergeant to the hand and then spat at Miss Gibbins full in the face.”

The court was told how the Johnson was then placed in a spit hood.

Mr Pinnell added: “The defendant has a substantial criminal record by any description.

“She has 93 court appearances for 180 convictions. Of these, 116 are for offences against the person and 11 for drug offences.”

Johnson pleaded guilty to two counts of assaulting an emergency worker and one of possession of cannabis.

The offences were committed between October 6 and 7.

Laura Shepherd, mitigating, said her client had struggled with heroin addiction.

She added: “For the first time in 20 years, she had been given a flat which has helped her with her rehabilitation.”

Judge Timothy Petts told Johnson: “You slapped a police officer and then spat at a custody detention officer which was a particularly nasty thing to do.

“Spitting carries the risk of infection. You have an appalling record of previous convictions.”

The judge said he felt society would be better served suspending Johnson’s prison sentence.

He told her: “There is a realistic prospect of rehabilitation.”

She was jailed for 25 weeks, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to complete a 30-day rehabilitation activity requirement.