Carer cleared of hitting dementia sufferer after he slapped her in face

Laura Figueiredo appeared at magistrates' court in Ipswich Picture: ARCHANT

Laura Figueiredo appeared at magistrates' court in Ipswich Picture: ARCHANT

A former care home assistant has been cleared of assaulting an 85-year-old dementia sufferer.

Laura Figueiredo was accused of hitting Colin Mansfield in response to him slapping her face as protest to his nails being cut.

The incident, alleged to have taken place at Kingfisher House in Newmarket last April, was denied by the 42-year-old at Suffolk Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

It was claimed Ms Figueiredo, of St James, Newmarket, struck Mr Mansfield with the heel of her palm, cutting him above the eyebrow, before grabbing him by the scruff of the neck and kneeling on his chest, saying: “If I kill you, I’ll cut your nails.”

Fred Sagoe, prosecuting, said she later made an admission by telling a senior clinical nurse she had “done something stupid” and asking if she would lose her job.

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Agency worker Mihail Gurgu reported witnessing the incident.

In cross examination, solicitor Dino Barricella suggested Mr Mansfield was agitated following an aborted attempt by Mr Gurgu and two staff to hold him and let Ms Figueiredo cut his nails.

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Mr Barricella said Ms Figueiredo then tried to “pacify and cajole” Mr Mansfield, but that he lashed out when she made a solo attempt to complete the task.

In response, he said Ms Figueiredo had only placed a firm hand on Mr Mansfield’s cheek, causing his glasses to move up his forehead and leave a red mark.

On the stand, she denied disclosing anything more than her account to the senior clinical nurse, but acknowledged asking about losing her job when directed to clock out and go home.

Mr Sagoe accused her of “taking retribution” against Mr Mansfield, to which she said: “It’s not true, I never hit Colin.”

Magistrates returned a not guilty verdict, saying they found Mr Gurgu’s evidence inconsistent with accounts of corroborative witnesses, and that it had not been proved beyond reasonable doubt that Ms Figueiredo’s actions were disproportionate.

A care home spokesman said she was suspended following allegations, which were reported to Mr Mansfield’s family, police and safeguarding authorities, adding: “We have an active whistle-blowing policy, which encourages residents, relatives or colleagues to raise concerns about any aspect of care or conduct, and these are always notified to the appropriate authorities, so they may be investigated in a transparent way.”

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