Alex Hepburn: Rape victim 'humiliated by sexual conquest game'

By Jo Adnitt and Adam Eley
BBC Victoria Derbyshire programme

media captionSarah says cricketer Alex Hepburn "will never understand" the impact the rape has had on her entire life

A woman who was raped by a cricketer while asleep has said she was "humiliated" to find out he had taken part in a sexual conquest "game".

Former Worcestershire player Alex Hepburn was sentenced to five years in prison last month.

He assaulted the victim at his flat in Worcester after she had consensual sex with his then team-mate Joe Clarke.

The stress has left her with facial paralysis and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Hepburn and Mr Clarke had set up a "game" on WhatsApp to see how many women they could have sex with.

Hepburn attacked "Sarah" - not her real name - after Mr Clarke had left his bedroom to be sick and passed out in his bathroom.

On arriving back at the flat, Hepburn found her asleep on a mattress, "saw a chance" and attacked her, his trial heard.

'He had sex with me'

She realised he was not Mr Clarke only when Hepburn spoke in an Australian accent.

Sarah told the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme she remembered finding Mr Clarke after the attack and telling him "again and again and again 'your friend has had sex with me'."

She then saw Hepburn, before fleeing the flat.

"Once I'd grabbed my clothes, I ran out to the street and stopped a passer-by," she said.

"I told her everything that happened and she rang the police."

At the police station, she said, officers "rang my mum". "But I remember thinking that I didn't want people knowing."

image copyrightBen Birchall/PA Wire
image captionThe sentencing judge described Hepburn as "arrogant"

Sarah said it had been "so humiliating" to later find out, at Hepburn's trial, that she had unwillingly been part of a "game".

She believes that Hepburn "got so involved in the competition... he had no idea what he was doing was wrong", and wishes to educate perpetrators that such behaviour constitutes rape.

During sentencing, Judge Jim Tindal said Hepburn had "arrogantly" believed his victim would consent during the attack.

Sarah agrees, saying she believes that Hepburn "would have thought I was grateful".

She said she also struggled to initially "put two and two together" and realise she had been raped and hoped speaking out would inform other victims.

Life 'on hold'

The stress caused by the rape has led Sarah to develop Bell's palsy, a partial paralysis of the face.

She has also been diagnosed with PTSD and said her life had effectively been placed on hold.

"I wanted to go travelling when I left university," she said.

"I wanted to go on to do a PGCE [Postgraduate Certificate of Education] to be a primary school teacher and I delayed all of that because of the trial."

Now Hepburn has been convicted, Sarah said she had reached an "epiphany, where I could think about my future again for the first time".

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

But Sarah said the impact the rape had had on her was worse than the time Hepburn would spend in prison.

"He will have no idea the effect it has had on me," she said.

Hepburn is presently seeking to appeal against his conviction.

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