A FORMER healthcare assistant at a community hospital in Winsford has avoided jail after sexually assaulting a woman.

Richard Kevin Barlow, of Moss Bank, Winsford, received a 16-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months after being convicted of two counts of sexual assault.

A week-long trial at Chester Crown Court found him guilty on January 18 and he was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court last Wednesday, February 10.

The court heard that the two assaults happened between 2016 and 2017.

Barlow was put on a curfew and must wear an electronic tag for four months and complete a rehabilitation course.

The 56-year-old, who worked at Elmhurst Intermediate Care Centre, was also ordered to sign the sex offenders register.

Following the sentencing, Det Con John Corrigan said: “The victim in this case showed great bravery in coming forward to give evidence.

“I really hope that this conviction will help her feel vindicated and that she did the right thing in coming forward.

“I also hope the conviction reassures other victims of sexual abuse that if they make that first step in calling us we will help them every step of the way, whether that’s supporting them through a court case or pointing them in the right direction to get the help and support they need if they feel the court process is not the right thing for them at this time.”

Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust told the Guardian that Barlow no longer works at Elmhurst.

A trust spokesman added: “The trust has treated this incident with the utmost seriousness.

“We acted as soon as we were made aware of the incidents, acting in accordance with trust policy.

“We have carried out a thorough internal investigation and have cooperated fully with the police investigation.”