A hospital healthcare assistant from Wirral accused of putting a plastic bag over a pensioner’s head has been cleared of mistreating her.

Santosh Bhatta was alleged to have mistreated vulnerable 79-year-old Olinda Mansfield, who was a patient at Broadgreen Hospital.

It had been alleged that colleagues saw him target Ms Mansfield, who had suspected "autistic tendencies" and learning difficulties.

But 33-year-old Bjatta told Liverpool Crown Court that he had just been playing "peekaboo" with a plastic sheet and only held it in front of her face.

Bhatta, of Lindale Close, Moreton, faced two trials on the allegation of mistreatment on July 22, 2018 as a jury failed to reach a verdict last summer.

The second jury found him not guilty after just over three-and-a-half hours deliberations.

He showed no emotion when the verdict was returned but on leaving the dock hugged his tearful partner and embracing other family members.

It had been alleged that colleagues saw a plastic bag over Ms Mansfield’s head as she sat on her bed but Bhatta said it was a plastic sheet rather than a bag and insisted that he only held it in front of the pensioner and never let go.

Bhatta, who originally came from Nepal, said he started working weekends as a health care assistant at Broadgreen Hospital in 2017.

He said Ms Mansfield, who has died since the incident, sometimes had challenging behaviour and on the day of the alleged offence he was trying to divert her attention by playing “peekaboo.”