An NHS nurse has been found guilty of sexually assaulting an 85-year-old woman who he cared for after she had suffered a fall.
Steven Hicks, 60, had attended his victim’s home in medical clothing at around 6pm on 5 January 2022 and assaulted her while checking her mobility.
At the time of the incident, the woman, who is now in her late eighties and cannot be named for legal reasons, had been receiving home visits from healthcare professionals after suffering recent fractures.
Wearing a navy, long-sleeved shirt and black trousers, Hicks stared at the floor after the jury found him guilty of sexual assault after seven hours and 43 minutes of deliberation.
Hicks, of Woodley, Reading, had denied the charges and claimed that he had only visited the woman in her home on the day after her fall to carry out a nursing assessment.
However, the jury found that he had also attended her home in January, wearing a surgical mask, a plastic apron and gloves, and told the pensioner that he was from the Royal Berkshire Hospital orthopaedic unit after she said she no longer had care visits.
Despite cancelling her evening home visits, the woman was not too surprised by his attendance and invited him in.
While claiming to check her mobility, he was said to have put his hand “just into” and his face “against” her vagina.
Jurors heard the woman asked the nurse: “What on earth are you doing?” then pushed him 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”.
While giving video-recorded evidence, the woman said there was no discussion about “anything intimate” happening.
Asked how she felt about what happened, she said: “Well I blame myself in a way that I should have looked at his identification.” She added that she just wants to “forget about 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.
He is also said to have access the woman’s clinical records seven times, including on the day of the assault when he was off-duty.
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.
However, the prosecutor said no newspapers published any front page story about the attack in print until January 13.
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.