A Harpenden woman accused of punching and racially abusing a Romanian woman has been cleared by a jury.

Kelly Neale, 34, was said to have caused swelling and bruising to Simona Pourghlami's right eye.

The prosecution at St Albans Crown Court also alleged she had called Mrs Pourghlami and her husband "bloody Romanians" who should go back to their own country.

But on Friday a jury cleared Ms Neale, of Ashwell Park, Harpenden, of racially aggravated assault by beating on July 4 last year.

The court heard that Ms Neale had gone round to another maisonette in Ashwell Park looking for a woman called Hayley. She banged loudly on the door and when Mrs Pourghlami's sister answered there was a confrontation.

It was broken up, but as she left Ms Neale was set to have struck Mrs Pourghlami who had been sitting on a bench outside and had got up to intervene.

The police were called and arrested Ms Neale at her home nearby. She said: "I did go round there and mouthed off, but they jumped me."

She told officers she had drunk half a bottle of rum, but had acted in self defence.