A JURY has cleared a care home worker of ill-treating an 88-year-old man with dementia.

Jade Kilgariff, 20, was found not guilty of mistreating vascular dementia sufferer Clifford Moore, a resident at Kingsland House care home in Shoreham.

At Brighton Crown Court on Friday the jury took five hours to acquit Miss Kilgariff on one charge of ill treating a person in her care who lacked capacity.

It comes after the senior care worker stood trial to defend her innocence after being accused by two colleagues of mistreating Mr Moore at the care home in Kingslands Close, Shoreham.

Earlier last week the court heard her colleagues accused Miss Kilgariff of putting her hands over Mr Moore’s mouth to shut him up when he became distressed.

She was also accused of placing a pillow and sheet over his face.

In total there were four allegations of ill treatment in autumn of 2016.

The court heard Mr Moore often became distressed when being moved into bed using the hoist. The 88-year-old, who could not talk, groaned to show his distress.

Giving evidence, former colleague care worker Sophie Humphrey, said Miss Kilgariff put a sheet over his face and on another occasion a pillow on his face, and Mr Moore had looked frightened.

A second former colleague Charmain Bridle said she witnessed Miss Kilgariff put her hand over his mouth. She said she then witnessed her throw a sheet over Mr Moore and put her hands on his mouth again, before she reported it.

The senior care worker was then arrested and sacked from her job.

But taking the stand, Miss Kilgariff categorically denied ill-treating him.

When asked by her defence barrister James Caldwell about the allegations she said she covered his face with the pillow and sheet for a matter of seconds as a distraction technique to calm him, but never made contact with his face.

She told the court: “I pulled the sheet so it was just over the bottom half of his face, it wasn’t done in a malicious way.

“I have nephews and if they get agitated I use a blanket, it was more like a distraction technique.

“It might have been taken the wrong way [by colleagues].

“Mr Moore stopped shouting, there was nothing to indicate he was frightened by anything I had done.”

She said she had only been given a two-day dementia trading course and had not been told to use the “peek-a-boo” technique did it as it had worked with another patient.

The jury returned a not guilty verdict on Friday after deliberating for five hours.

A spokeswoman for Kingsland House said: “We respect the finding of the Court and offer no further comment at this time.”

Miss Kilgariff declined to comment.