<
>

Alex Hepburn found guilty of rape following retrial at Worcester Crown Court

Alex Hepburn at Worcester Crown Court Getty Images

Alex Hepburn, the former Worcestershire allrounder, has been found guilty of raping a sleeping woman following a retrial at Worcester Crown Court.

Hepburn, 23, now faces a prison sentence after being convicted on one charge of rape. He was cleared of a second charge relating to the same victim, after the jury in his original trial, in January, had failed to return a verdict.

Afterwards, the Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA) released a statement emphasing the importance of players participating in its personal development programmes.

"This public case provides a stark reminder to all PCA members of all requirements and behaviours demanded of a professional cricketer, provided through its Personal Development and Welfare Programme, which is facilitated closely alongside the ECB and first-class counties.

"Throughout the criminal investigations, we have provided suitable advice and assistance to Alex. As the game's player association, offering support and guidance to players in times of turbulence is a fundamental responsibility for the PCA."

The trial related to an incident in the early hours of April 1, 2017, when Hepburn was accused of raping his victim, who had already had consensual sex with his then team-mate, Joe Clarke, after getting into her bed while she was sleeping.

The victim had initially believed she was having sex with Clarke, and only realised Hepburn's identity after 10 minutes.

Giving evidence, Hepburn had told the court: "She was engaging in the act so I presumed she was enjoying it."

In the course of the retrial, the jury heard from the prosecution how Hepburn had "dehumanised" women, rating them in text messages to his team-mates in a "sexual conquest competition" on the social media app, WhatsApp.

He was bailed pending sentencing at Hereford Crown Court on April 30, and was told by Judge Jim Tindal that a custodial sentence was "inevitable".

'You have been convicted and now fall to be sentenced," the judge said. "I am adjourning your case for the preparation of a pre-sentence report. But it would not be a kindness to you to leave you under any false impression as to the purpose of that report.

"There is only one sentence that can properly be handed down in this case, and a custodial sentence is inevitable. You need to prepare yourself and get matters in order and attend Hereford Crown Court on the 30th of April."

Hepburn slumped in his seat then sobbed after the jury - who had deliberated for 10 hours and 53 minutes - delivered a unanimous verdict of guilty on one count of oral rape.