COVID-19: Christchurch supermarket sneezer Raymond Coombs sentenced to 16 months in prison

Raymond Coombs.
Raymond Coombs. Photo credit: Facebook

The Christchurch man who filmed himself deliberately coughing and sneezing on people during New Zealand's COVID-19 lockdown has been sentenced to 16 months in prison.

Raymond Coombs, 38, was handed down the jail sentence in the Christchurch High Court on Tuesday for unrelated driving offences. 

He was also fined $750 for the coughing incident, after earlier pleading guilty to endangering life by criminal nuisance and obstruction of a medical officer of health. 

Judge Raoul Neave described Coombs' behaviour as "dangerous, selfish and stupid".

Coombs claimed the video he filmed at a Fresh Choice supermarket in the suburb of Barrington and uploaded to Facebook was a "drunken prank".

After an earlier appearance in court in April, Coombs apologised to New Zealanders.

"I'm really really sorry for everything that I've caused the nation," he told reporters outside court after being released on bail. 

The roofer said he was inspired by pranks he'd seen on the internet. At the time, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called him an idiot.

It's not the first time Coombs had been jailed for a prank. In 2009, he was sentenced to two years in prison for putting dry ice bombs around Christchurch.