A carer accused of ill-treating a profoundly disabled woman by repeatedly pushing her in the face told a jury she moved her head to keep her awake because she could die if she fell asleep.

Rehana Kosir said she had ten years’ experience as a care worker and looked after Michelle Roe, 26, who is blind, cannot speak and suffers epileptic fits, for more than a year.

Miss Roe, known as Shelley, was born prematurely and had a bleed on the brain. She is profoundly physically disabled and needs round-the-clock care.

Bradford Crown Court this week heard Miss Roe suffers from sleep apnea, which means it is dangerous for her to sleep in the day when she is not wearing equipment to help and monitor her breathing.

Kosir, 30, of South Edge in Keighley, is accused of repeatedly pushing Miss Roe in the face on January 14 last year while getting her ready to attend a day-care centre. She denies a charge of ill-treatment of a person who lacks capacity.

The jury has been told Miss Roe’s mother, Joanne, watched in horror on a CCTV link as Kosir ill-treated her daughter in her bedroom.

The footage of Kosir has been shown several times in court throughout the trial.

Prosecutor Andrew Haslam said Miss Roe’s carers were told to keep her awake by a variety of methods, including talking to her, brushing her hair, stroking her or touching her with a wet flannel.

Miss Roe has a shunt in her brain that drains fluid into her stomach, and Kosir is accused of repeatedly pushing her in the face with the back of her hand and her knuckles.

Kosir said on Tuesday she would never harm Miss Roe. She used the same method to keep her awake as other carers in the team.

She knew the dangers of letting her sleep in the day and that her life could be put at risk.

On the day of the alleged ill-treatment, Miss Roe had suffered a very bad night and was falling asleep by 9am.

“Her head was drooping from side to side and her eyes were shut. I was talking to her and moving her head,” Kosir said.

She claims she was trying to keep Miss Roe comfortable and to keep her awake.

Cross-examined by Mr Haslam, Kosir agreed working with Miss Roe had been difficult and challenging, but rewarding.

She admitted she had been texting on her phone while getting Miss Roe ready for the day care centre, but insisted she was fully concentrating on her needs.

The trial continues.