A nurse who abused an 85-year-old woman during a fake care visit has been jailed for almost five years.

Steven Hicks, 60, of Quentin Road, Woodley, was convicted of sexual assault last week.

This was in relation to an incident on January 5, 2022.

A trial at Reading Crown Court heard that Hicks targeted an Earley pensioner.

He donned a nurse's scrubs and visited the woman's home, pretending he was there for a legitimate care appointment.

The woman let him in and lay down on a bed where Hicks went on to sexually assaulted her.

The pensioner was known to Hicks, as he had cared for her as part of his work as a nurse mere weeks before the assault.

During the attack, he wore a facemask to conceal his identity - and the jury was told that Hicks researched his victim using confidential NHS records.

His DNA was found on the woman's body and clothing, and this put Hicks on the police's radar.

Today, he appeared in court again for sentencing, wearing prison overalls.

At the hearing, prosecuting barrister William Eaglestone read a statement from the victim.

She said she has been supported by her family in the aftermath of the ordeal, which had made her fearful for her own security.

The woman said: "One of the worst parts of thinking about what happened to me is the worry that this could happen to one of my granddaughters."

She added: "Despite what happened, this crime has brought my family closer together.

"But what happened to me should never have happened.

"I'm 87-years-old, and I should've been able to trust those services to rehabilitate me at home, where I thought I was safe."

Defence barrister Helena Duong said that Hicks was a man of previous good character, with no prior criminal history - including for sex offences.

He had a troubled childhood, and worked hard to qualify as a nurse, serving the NHS for decades.

Addressing Judge Kirsty Real, Mrs Duong said: "It is difficult, perhaps, to reconcile that man with the one who has been convicted of committing the offence that Your Honour is sentencing him for."

Sentencing Hicks, the judge said his offending showed a "significant degree of planning."

She categorised the case as one of 'uninvited entry', as there was "no way" Hicks could have gained entry to the pensioner's home without the care visit deception.

Describing the attack as an "abuse of trust," she jailed Hicks to four years and six months.

He will serve half of this sentence in prison, and will be made to register as a sex offender for life.

Rounding off her remarks today, Judge Real paid tribute to the victim's family - in particular her son, whose statement was also read out by Mr Eaglestone.

The judge told Hicks: "I hope you heard, in the midst of all of this, that he [the victim's son] expressed concern for your family in light of your offending."