A carer threatened to kill a disabled patient with witchcraft after punching her head "like a ball”, a court heard yesterday.

Hilda Pratt of Tennison Road, South Norwood, is accused of attacking Andrea Bowes-Adolfess in her Thornton Heath home in April last year.

Mrs Bowes-Adolfess, 51, of Hamilton Road, claims 38-year-old Miss Pratt grabbed her by the throat and flung her against a wall after a dispute about stained clothing.

She told Croydon Magistrates Court yesterday: "She said my whole family would die. She said we would be struck down by God. Cursed, like some sort of witchcraft. She was probably trying to scare me."

Mum-of-two Mrs Bowes-Adolfess requires round-the-clock care after being hit by a van in 2008, leaving her with chronic pain.

Miss Pratt, who works for Croydon Council contractor Supreme Care Services, had been visiting Mrs Bowes-Adolfess at home for just over a month when the argument broke out.

The court heard the two fell out over Miss Pratt wearing surgical gloves, which stained her alleged victim's tights while she was dressing her at around 8am on April 17.

Mrs Bowes-Adolfess, who uses a wheelchair, claims the carer flew into a rage, removed her gloves and apron and threw them at her.

She said she then struggled out of her chair in a bid to reach a phone to call the police.

She admitted throwing some cream at Miss Pratt in retaliation and being disappointed it missed.

Miss Pratt is alleged to have then grabbed her and pushed her against the wall.

Mrs Bowes-Adolfess said: "He fingers were on my neck and she started pressing on my neck. It was hard to breathe. She was squeezing; it was painful.

"I was hitting her to try to get her off me."

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Andrea Bowes-Adolfess claims her carer threatened to kill her

She added: "She threatened to kill me. She was punching my head like a ball. She hit me several times. She used a lot of power."

The court heard her brother, Eric Adolfess, who had been watching TV in the living room, rushed upstairs and intervened after hearing shouts.

He told Miss Pratt to leave and told his sister to call the police.

On the way out, Miss Pratt is alleged to have thrown some shower gel at her alleged victim while shouting death threats.

Mr Bowes-Adolfess told the court he had seen Miss Pratt punch his sister at least three times.

He said: "I saw two blows and as I was going upstairs another one went in.

"What could Andrea do? The lady was bigger than her and she was pinned against the wall in her bra and panties.

"I pushed in between the two of them and said 'stop'. I said to the carer, 'you better leave,' but she was incensed, She was spouting off, saying 'benefit thief', 'you're going to die', 'your children are going to be killed', 'you're going to Hell'."

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Mrs Bowes-Adolfess was left disabled after being hit by a van in 2008

Darren Withers, defending, claimed the siblings were lying about the confrontation and suggested Mrs Bowes-Adolfess had attacked Miss Pratt out of anger over the gloves.

During a combative cross-examination of the alleged victim, her told her: "The reality is it did not happen in that way. You lost your temper and you got to your feet because you lost your temper.

"You rushed to your feet and threw yourself at Miss Pratt."

He said Miss Pratt suffered injuries to her neck in the attack.

Mrs Bowes-Adolfess, who was forced to sit just a metre away from her alleged attacker because her wheelchair would not fit in the witness stand, said: "It does not make sense. I am in bad pain every day. I could not just get up like that."

District judge Karen Hammond adjourned the trial until July 18, when Miss Pratt will give evidence.

She denies a charge of assault. 

The trial continues.