Nurse found guilty of sexually assaulting 85-year-old woman in her own home

A nurse has been found guilty of sexually assaulting an 85-year-old woman whom he had cared for after she suffered a fall.

Steven Hicks, 60, was convicted of attacking the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, following a trial at Reading Crown Court.

Wearing a navy, long-sleeved shirt and black trousers, Hicks (pictured) stared at the floor after the jury found him guilty of sexual assault after seven hours and 43 minutes of deliberation.

After the case, Thames Valley Police said they are “keeping an open mind” as to whether there are more victims.

The court heard Hicks attended the pensioner’s home, where she lived alone, wearing thick-rimmed glasses and medical clothing, including a surgical mask, a plastic apron and gloves on January 5, 2022.

The 60-year-old, from Woodley, Reading, told the victim he was from the Royal Berkshire orthopaedic unit and, while claiming to check her mobility, pressed his face against her.

The victim, who is now 87 but was 85 at the time of the assault, had been receiving visits in her home from healthcare professionals after suffering fractures from a fall on December 21, 2021.

However, she had cancelled all evening care visits by the time of the assault.

When Hicks pressed his face against her vagina, the court heard she asked him: “What on earth are you doing?”

She then pushed him away and asked for his identity card, which he did not provide, before he left.

The woman called relatives to inform them and they reported the incident to police, and officers reportedly arrived within 15 to 20 minutes of the incident.

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

During her video-recorded evidence, the woman said there had been no discussion about “anything intimate” happening.

In September, eight months after the incident, forensics confirmed Hicks’s DNA matched samples found on the woman and on the waistband of the leggings she was wearing the day of the assault, police said.

Officers arrested him shortly after, they added.

Hicks held his head in his hands as Judge Kirsty Real remanded him in custody, rejecting his application for bail.

She said: “The type of sentence (for the offence) is inevitable.

“You’re facing a custodial sentence of some time.”

He will be sentenced at the same court on January 25.

Speaking from Reading Police Station, specialist investigator Philippa Sharman told the PA news agency that officers are “keeping an open mind” as to whether there are more victims of Hicks.

She said: “If any more information comes to light, then that will be for us to look into.

“This is a serving member of the NHS, they’re a very trusted profession, they have a certain amount of power when they get into people’s homes, into care homes, and people deserve to be safe in their home.”

She later added: “This was a horrendous attack on a vulnerable woman by Steven Hicks.

“He researched the victim, knowing they no longer needed evening care, orchestrated an unscheduled visit to her home address, knowing he would not be disturbed when committing this assault, and abused the power that was bestowed upon him.

“The investigation into this assault has shown him, and demonstrates to the public, that we will not tolerate this behaviour and ensure that no-one should be made to feel unsafe in their own home.

“The victim has showed incredible dignity and courage throughout this case and I thank her for her trust and bravery.”

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