Cricketer facing jail after raping woman in his team-mate’s room

A cricketer who raped a woman he found “dozing” in his team-mate’s bedroom is due to be sentenced by a Crown Court judge.

Alex Hepburn, 23, has been warned a jail sentence is inevitable for the attack committed during the first night of a sexual conquest “game” he helped to set up on a WhatsApp group.

The Australian-born former Worcestershire CCC all-rounder is alleged 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.

A jury 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 the woman wrongly thought she was having sex with Hepburn’s then county team-mate Joe Clarke after meeting him at a nightclub.

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.

Claiming 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.

During his evidence at this month’s re-trial, Hepburn admitted sending “disgusting, horrible and embarrassing” WhatsApp messages while setting the rules of the sexual conquest competition involving other cricketers.

WhatsApp exchanges suggesting Hepburn had sex with 60 women during a previous “stat game” were not put before the jurors who convicted him.

Another message in which the all-rounder described himself and Mr Clarke as a “pair of tens” who “should be banging models” was also ruled inadmissible during a pre-trial hearing.

Hepburn is due to be sentenced at Hereford Crown Court on Tuesday afternoon.

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