A former care worker has been cleared of assaulting an elderly resident at a local care home.

Michelle Sloan, 32, of Howarth Close, Milford Haven, was found not guilty after she stood trial at Haverfordwest magistrates court on Monday afternoon.

She denied a charge of assaulting 94 year-old Angus Walker, known as Jock, by beating at Rickeston Nursing Home on April 2.

The court heard that Mr Walker had died recently, and his funeral had been held the week before Ms Sloan’s trial.

It had been alleged that she slapped Mr Walker across the face, was verbally aggressive, and squeezed him while holding both his wrists.

Ms Sloan maintained that she accidently made contact with Mr Walker when she thought he was going to hit her, and had not spoken to him inappropriately.

Alison Howells, who worked alongside Ms Sloan at the home, told the bench that Mr Walker, who suffered from dementia, had limited mobility and arthritis, and was physically dependant on the care staff for his personal needs.

She added that he was a man with a good sense of humour, who could be forgetful, but knew his family and could chat about his interests when encouraged.

Miss Howells described him as “delightful, lovely, calm, relaxed and responsive” when she dealt with him.

She was attending to Mr Walker’s personal care, assisted by Ms Sloan at the time of the incident and made a report to the nurse in charge. No injuries were found on Mr Walker, and he was described as his usual self afterwards.

The court heard that Mr Walker had become calmer following a change in his medication, but there had been incidents where he became aggressive and ‘lashed out’ at members of staff, as his condition meant his behaviour could change very quickly.

Ms Sloan was immediately suspended from work for an investigation to be carried out, and was dismissed shortly afterwards.

Defended by Katy Hanson, she told the court that she had worked at the care home for more than two years, and had loved her job.

She said: “I loved helping people and got satisfaction from knowing I was doing something that was beneficial to somebody else.”

Ms Sloan stated that she had gone into Mr Walker’s room ‘slightly defensively’ following incidents with other staff members, and had put her arm up when she saw movement in the corner of her eye in a ‘knee-jerk reaction’, after she saw him clenching a fist and flinching towards her.

“It was an accident. It caught the side of his face. It was not intentional. I am not a violent person.”

“My intention was basically to stop his hand. He looked slightly shocked but was still being violent. He was trying to hit out at me so I reached out and grabbed his hands.”

She added: “To be honest, I feel bad. He was a vulnerable person in our care. We were supposed to be looking after him, but it was an accident.”

Magistrates acquitted Ms Sloan after the trial.

The chairman of the bench said: “Your actions may have fallen short of the duty of care that should be expected, but we do not find the case proved.”