Covid ‘denier’ made sheep noises at people queuing for tests and told them ‘coronavirus is fake’ – despite his own sister battling disease in intensive care
- Paul Miranda, 50, filmed people as they waited at Bootle Town Hall on Monday
- He called one man, who had lost four relatives to coronavirus, a ‘stupid fat c***’
- Miranda admitted three charges of intent to cause harassment, alarm or distress
- He was given credit for guilty plea and handed two-week curfew from 9am-5pm
A Covid-19 ‘denier’ made sheep noises at people queueing for tests and told them that ‘coronavirus is fake’, despite his own sister just coming out of intensive care after battling the disease.
Paul Miranda, 50, filmed people at Bootle Town Hall on Monday as they waited in line for a coronavirus test at the walkthrough centre.
A judge today branded his behaviour as ‘a complete and utter disgrace’ as he faced three charges of harassment at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court.
Joe Woodyatt, defending, explained that Miranda has a sister who has just come out of an hospital having contracted coronavirus.
Paul Miranda (pictured above, leaving Liverpool Magistrates’ Court), 50, filmed people at Bootle Town Hall on Monday as they waited in line for a Covid test at the walkthrough centre
Lionel Cope, prosecuting, read statements from three victims, Daniel Bethel, Frances Loughran and Cedric Loughran, who were simply trying to get a coronavirus test.
Reading from Mr Bethel’s statement, Mr Cope said: ‘I pulled up to the centre – I didn’t know he was filming me.
‘I asked him twice not to film me and he went “What are you going to do?”‘.
Miranda also filmed car registration numbers and Mr Bethel said: ‘He was following me calling me a stupid fat c***.
‘I lost four relatives to coronavirus. I didn’t want this filmed or to be disturbed.’
Mr Bethel had ‘swiped’ at Miranda, but claimed he wasn’t trying to assault him, but to get him to stop filming.
Ms Loughran said Miranda was ‘hassling staff and making comments about coronavirus being a lie’ and said she ‘noticed he was standing very close to people’.
The court heard Miranda also ‘said baa’ which Ms Loughran ‘took that to say we were sheep’.
Ms Louhgran said the incident made her ‘feel anxious’ and ‘very intimidated’.
Mr Cope, reading her statement, said: ‘I was very intimidated so I just put my head down and tried to walk away.’
The 50-year-old made sheep noises at people queuing for tests at Bootle Town Hall (pictured). He called one man, who had lost four relatives to the virus, a ‘stupid fat c***’
As he filmed people he told them ‘You’re going to be on YouTube’.
Miranda also shouted: ‘Why are you getting a test?’ and asked ‘why are you here? Covid is fake.’
Mr Loughran, responding to the comments, replied that people had been advised to get tests even if asymptomatic to which Miranda said: ‘It’s just a conspiracy’.
In a statement, Mr Loughran said: ‘He was trying to have his own little protest.’
The court heard Miranda, of Bootle, has not been before the courts for the last 20 years. He admitted three charges of intent to cause harassment, alarm or distress.
Mr Woodyatt, defending, explained that Miranda had been walking past the test centre at the time.
He said: ‘He didn’t have any intention of going to harass people. When walking past the centre he got into a discussion with one of the security guards and it was here that he then started to get agitated and angry.’
Mr Woodyatt told the court Miranda is remorseful stating ‘he wholeheartedly apologises’.
He said: ‘He really wants to stress he is really very sorry for his behaviour and accepts what he did was out of order.’
Mentioning Mr Bethel’s ‘swipe’ he said: ‘He felt this was more of an attempted assault on his person which further upset him.’
Liverpool Magistrates Court, above, heard Miranda has not been before courts for the last 20 years. He admitted three charges of intent to cause harassment, alarm or distress (file photo)
Mr Woodyatt said: ‘He can’t explain why he was saying what he was saying about the pandemic.’
Deputy District Judge Vincent McDade said: ‘How can he say it’s a hoax and on the other hand his sister has just come out of ICU?’
The court heard Miranda does not suffer from any diagnosed mental health issues but has ‘some sort of PTSD’.
Mr Woodyatt stressed that Miranda claimed ‘there won’t be any repeat of any such behaviour’.
Judge McDade, sentencing, said: ‘This city is in the grip of one of the most serious pandemics in 100 years.
‘For you to go around abusing people in the centre, people who are genuinely concerned about their health and the health of their relatives, is a complete and utter disgrace.
‘Then to say it’s a hoax when your sister has come out of an ICU having had the virus – I really don’t understand your logic.’
Miranda was given credit for his guilty plea and the judge took into account that his last conviction was around 20 years ago.
Miranda was handed a two-week curfew which will run from 9am to 5pm.
After sentencing Miranda asked to address the court, and said: ‘I’m not a Covid denier, I just want the court to understand that.
‘I don’t know what set me off to say them things, I don’t believe in them.’