Former nurse who sexually assaulted pensioner has been jailed, CPS says
A former nurse who “used his position” to sexually assault an 85-year-old woman in her home has been jailed for four and a half years, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has said.
Steven Hicks, 60, was a nurse when he attended the pensioner’s home, where she lived alone, wearing thick-rimmed glasses and medical clothing, including a surgical mask, plastic apron and gloves on January 5 2022.
He was sentenced at Reading Crown Court on Thursday after the jury found him guilty of one count of sexual assault on January 19 this year.
During the trial the court heard how 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.
They were in her bedroom at the time, the CPS said.
The pensioner, who is now 87 years old and cannot be named for legal reasons, received home visits from hospital staff having suffered fractures from a fall on December 21 2021.
However, she reportedly cancelled all evening hospital home checks the day before Hicks arrived, unscheduled, and sexually assaulted her.
When the nurse pressed his face against her, 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.
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 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, Thames Valley Police said, adding he was arrested shortly after.
Specialist investigator on the case Philippa Sharman said phone data placed him in the vicinity of the pensioner’s home at the time of the offence.
Moreover, the CPS said the woman’s account of the assault was detailed and footage from her video doorbell confirmed someone was at her house that evening.
It said Hicks also accessed the woman’s medical records multiple times while she was receiving home visits, often when he was on annual leave and without reason to check them, and including on the day he assaulted her.
CPS lawyer Shilpa Shah said: “This was a shocking crime carried out by someone in a trusted profession.
“Steven Hicks knew the victim was vulnerable and that no other carers were due to visit her that evening, and he used his position to gain access to her home to assault her, in her own bedroom.
“Hicks denied the charges against him, but we were able to present evidence to the court clearly linking him to the assault.
“His DNA matched that found on the victim and her clothing, and his phone data placed him near her home at the time of the offence. He will now spend time in prison for his crime.”
Speaking from Reading Police Station, Ms Sharman told the PA news agency that officers were “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.”
Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2024, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Thames Valley Police / PA.