Alex Hepburn: Cricketer jailed for five years for rape of woman

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Alex Hepburn police mugshotImage source, West Mercia Police
Image caption,
Alex Hepburn was found guilty earlier this month of rape following a retrial

A "foul sexist" cricketer has been jailed for raping a sleeping woman.

Ex-Worcestershire player Alex Hepburn assaulted the victim at his Worcester flat after she had consensual sex with his then teammate Joe Clarke in 2017.

The 23-year-old was found guilty of rape earlier this month and sentenced to five years at Hereford Crown Court.

Judge Jim Tindal told him the sexual conquest "game" he had set up on a WhatsApp group was "laddish" behaviour that "demeaned women".

He told Hepburn he had "arrogantly" believed his victim would consent, during the attack.

"You thought you were God's gift to women," he said.

"You did see her at that moment as a piece of meat, not a woman entitled to respect."

'Trivialised rape'

Hepburn was found guilty of one count of oral rape and cleared of one rape charge following a retrial at Worcester Crown Court.

The woman woke up after a night out on 1 April and wrongly believed she was having sex with Mr Clarke before realising it was actually Hepburn, the trial was told.

Hepburn posted rules of the "stat chat" game about many women he and Mr Clarke could have sex with on a WhatsApp group a week before the rape.

His bid to collect "as many sexual encounters as possible" as part of the game was "foul sexism", Judge Tindal said.

"It demeaned women and trivialised rape - a word you personally threw around lightly," the judge said.

"Only now do you realise how serious rape is."

Image source, Ben Birchall/PA Wire
Image caption,
Judge Tindal described Alex Hepburn as "immature"

In a victim impact statement, read to the court by prosecutor Miranda Moore QC, the woman said she suffered recurring nightmares in the form of "a repeat of the rape", which had also led to the collapse of her relationship with her then boyfriend.

Describing her ordeal as evil and a "heinous crime", she added: "I take off my hat to anyone who can hold down a healthy happy relationship, after being raped.

"I am flooded with guilt that I can't ever seem to escape."

The trial was told the woman met Mr Clarke in a nightclub before returning to his flat where they had sex.

He left his bedroom during the night to be sick and remained passed out in his bathroom.

Hepburn found the woman asleep on a mattress after arriving back at the flat "alone, drunk and frustrated" and he "saw a chance" and attacked her, the court heard,

The woman only realised it wasn't Mr Clarke when Hepburn spoke in an Australian accent.

Hepburn's barrister, Michelle Heeley QC, said her client had expressed "true remorse", adding: "He has lost everything: his career, his good character and ultimately his liberty."

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