Nurse sexually assaulted 85-year-old woman he cared for in her home, court told

An NHS nurse allegedly sexually assaulted an 85-year-old woman whom he had cared for after she suffered a fall, a court has heard.

Steven Hicks is accused of attending the woman’s home – where she lived alone – in medical clothing at around 6pm on January 5 2022 and assaulting her.

The 60-year-old, of Woodley, in Reading, denies assault by penetration and sexual assault.

The woman, who is now 87 and who cannot be named for legal reasons, had been receiving visits in her home from healthcare professionals after she suffered fractures as a result of a fall on December 21 2021, Reading Crown Court (pictured) heard.

But by January 5 she had cancelled evening care visits, the jury was told.

The court heard Hicks claims he only visited the woman in her home on the day after her fall in December to perform a nursing assessment, and did not sexually assault her.

But the prosecution allege that Hicks also attended her home in January, wearing a surgical mask, a plastic apron and gloves, when he told the pensioner that he was from the Royal Berkshire Hospital orthopaedic unit after she said she no longer had care visits.

Prosecutor William Eaglestone said the woman was not too surprised by his attendance as she had been receiving regular visits and therefore invited him in.

According to the prosecutor, Hicks, while claiming to check the woman’s mobility, put his hand “just into” and his face “against” her vagina.

Jurors were told the woman pushed the nurse away and asked for his identity card, which he did not provide, before he left.

She then called relatives to tell them what happened, prompting them to call the police.

In body-worn footage of the woman talking to police in her home, she said the assailant apologised to her after she pushed him away and told her he “got carried away”.

Mr Eaglestone said: “The question is: who was that man? We the prosecution say it was this defendant – Steven Hicks.

“The issue in the case is not so much was (the woman) assaulted on January 5 2022 but, as I have said, who did it.”

Hicks’ DNA was found to match samples found on the top of the woman’s genital area and on the waistband of the leggings she was wearing the day of the assault, the jury was told.

Jurors went on to hear that, following Hicks’ arrest, he told police he “definitely had not been” at the woman’s house on January 5, but had been there for a nursing assessment on December 22, and that if DNA was found it must have been from the 2021 visit.

Mr Eaglestone told the jury they will have to decide whether Hicks’ DNA remained on the complainant for around two weeks or if it was found “because he was the man who in fact had assaulted her on January 5”.

Hicks is said to have accessed the woman’s clinical records seven times, including on the day of the assault when prosecutors say he was not working.

Police found an online article from January 10 2022 describing the attack on Hicks’ phone, which he told officers he read after seeing a headline on a paper, jurors heard.

The prosecutor said no newspapers published any front page story about the attack in print until January 13.

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