Cricketer Alex Hepburn jailed for five years for raping woman in team-mate’s room

Alex Hepburn, 23, arrives for sentencing at Hereford Crown Court Credit: Aaron Chown/PA

An "immature" cricketer who raped a woman he found “dozing” in his team-mate’s bedroom has been jailed for five years.

Alex Hepburn was convicted after an attack he carried out during the first night of a sexual conquest “game” he helped to set up on a WhatsApp group.

The 23-year-old Australian-born was said by the prosecution to have been “fired up” by the contest to sleep with the most women, before carrying out the rape at his flat in Portland Street, Worcester, in April 2017.

Jailing the former Worcestershire all-rounder at Hereford Crown Court on Tuesday, Judge Jim Tindal told the “immature” cricketer he and a former team mate had agreed a “pathetic sexist game to collect as many sexual encounters as possible”.

Alex Hepburn has been jailed for five years for rape. Credit: West Mercia Police/PA

He added: “You probably thought it was laddish behaviour at the time.

“In truth it was foul sexism.

“It demeaned women and trivialised rape – a word you personally threw around lightly.

“Only now do you realise how serious rape is.”

His barrister, Michelle Heeley QC, said her client had expressed remorse.

The woman told the court she believed she was having sex with Hepburn's team-mate Joe Clarke. Credit: PA

In what the judge called a “brave” victim impact statement, the woman Hepburn attacked described her ordeal as “evil” and a “heinous crime”.

Judge Tindal praised her for giving evidence through two trials, adding: “I hope she can now finally be able to look to her future which will be, I am sure, bright.”

A jury had found Hepburn guilty of oral rape at a re-trial earlier this month, but cleared him of a further count of rape relating to the same victim.

The four-day trial at Worcester Crown Court heard that the woman wrongly thought she was having sex with Hepburn’s then county team-mate Joe Clarke after meeting him at a nightclub.

Mr Hepburn with partner Lucy Street leaving Worcester Crown Court. Credit: PA

She told jurors she had consensual sex with England Lions batsman Mr Clarke, who left his bedroom in the early hours to be sick in a bathroom, where he passed out.

Hepburn told jurors he had drunk the equivalent of 20 bottles of beer before he found the woman alone on a mattress at the flat he shared with Mr Clarke.

He reasonably believed the woman had consented, Hepburn told jurors she had rolled over in bed, kissed him, and instigated “normal” consensual sex.

But the woman told the court she was sleeping at the start of the encounter and had believed she was with Mr Clarke until Hepburn spoke in an Australian accent.