A PATIENT who groped a nurse in a hospital corridor after bombarding her with lewd comments has avoided jail.

Graham Warner, of Goldsmiths Lane, Wallingford, had denied one charge of sexual assault against the woman at the John Radcliffe hospital on December 7 but was found guilty by a majority jury at Oxford Crown Court on November 1.

Sentencing the 57-year-old in the same court yesterday, Judge Maria Lamb said: "As a nurse she was alone with you, a situation which you took advantage to touch her sexually."

During the trial, the court had heard when he met with the nurse, who cannot be named for legal reasons, for a pre-arranged appointment. he quickly began directing a slew of lewd comments at her.

Taking to the witness box she told jurors that she tried to 'laugh off' the remarks but eventually had enough when he told her 'I would not kick you out of bed, I would tie you to it.'

When she left the consultation room to get away from Warner, the court heard, he followed her before grabbing her and carrying out the sexual assault in the corridor.

Warner had claimed the conversation had been 'just banter'.

Judge Lamb said she had taken into account Warner's previous good character and the "severe psychological impact" on his victim as she sentenced him to six months in prison, suspended for 18 months.

He was also ordered to complete 45 days of rehabilitation, specifically designed for offenders who maintain their innocence.

A indefinite restraining order was also put in place.