SHE was trusted to look after a vulnerable and frail pensioner but snapped and spat at him during a night shift at a nursing home.

Now the devastated daughter of the 85- year-old who was assaulted by the carer claims that the incident may have contributed to her dad’s death just one month later.

Care assistant Angelina Corpuz spat at the elderly man, who suffered from severe dementia, while she was working nights at Wilton Manor Nursing Home, in Southampton.

One of her concerned colleagues alerted bosses to the incident and Corpuz was prosecuted.

At Southampton Crown Court the 59- year-old pleaded guilty to spitting at the resident, well known to staff for having severe mobility and communication issues as a consequence of his dementia.

She has been sacked from her job as a result of the incident and can now no longer work in the care industry. She now works as a cleaner.

The court heard how she and another care assistant were taking him to his room on the top floor of the home when he started becoming frustrated and began spitting at them.

In response, the court heard how Corpuz snapped and spat back at him, something which she insists she did to show him that he shouldn’t do it and didn’t mean for any saliva to land on him.

The incident was reported by her colleague, who Judge Derwin Hope praised for her “courage” in doing so.

Judge Hope said that Corpuz had “recklessly assaulted” the victim, who had been in the home for eight months, but accepted that it “arose from the strain” of her job.

He added: “It was a terrible way to treat anyone, particularly one so vulnerable and who relied upon you to treat him with care and decency, as did his family.”

She was sentenced to complete 120 hours of unpaid community work and ordered to pay £200 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.

In mitigation, Richard Martin said that Corpuz, of Bevois Valley Road, Southamprton, had no previous convictions.

She had come to the “end of her tether”

and “snapped”, he added.

But in her victim impact statement read to court, the victim’s daughter, who does not want to be named, said: “I can’t help wondering if the assault contributed to his death.”

After the case she added: “My dad was a lovely, caring man who lived for his family.

“We kept him at home for so long with mum but there came a point where he needed proper care and we put our trust in the staff at the nursing home, and on that night that trust was betrayed.

“You are literally handing over the life of someone you love into someone else’s hands and that is one of the most difficult decisions. I can’t begin to imagine what my dad went through on that evening, he must have been terrified.

“It was a gross act of inhumanity that has disgusted and appalled me.”

A spokesperson for the home said: “Everyone at the home was shocked by Angelina Corpuz’s behaviour last year.

“None of us can understand how an experienced and fully trained care assistant could behave this way.

“Our people used our whistle-blowing system to raise concerns about this individual’s behaviour and we acted immediately by suspending this person and calling in the police.

“The actions of this individual last year do not reflect the home or the committed people who work here. Our residents’ welfare is always our number one priority.”