NEWS
10/01/2019 14:24 GMT

Jury Retires To Consider Verdict In Trial Of Cricketer Accused Of Raping Sleeping Woman

Prosecutors allege Alex Hepburn was motivated by a sexual contest "game". He denies two counts of rape.

Press Association
Alex Hepburn

The jury in the trial of a cricketer accused of raping a sleeping woman has retired to consider its verdict.

Former Worcestershire all-rounder Alex Hepburn denies sexually assaulting the woman in April 2017, claiming they had consensual sex in which she “actively engaged” after opening her eyes and kissing him.

Prosectors claim the 23-year-old began to rape the woman while she was asleep in his best friend’s bed, after he became “fired up” by a competition to sleep with the most women.

In her evidence to the court on Tuesday, the woman, who cannot be identified, told the court she was initially asleep during the alleged attack and then wrongly assumed Hepburn was his then team-mate Joe Clarke.

The woman, who had earlier had consensual sex with England Lions batsman Clarke at the cricketers’ flat, was horrified when she realised she was in bed with Hepburn, the jury heard.

Hepburn, of Portland Street, Worcester, told the city’s crown court on Wednesday that he only saw the woman was in his team-mate’s room after getting into bed beside her.

Prosecutors allege Hepburn was motivated by a sexual conquest “game” – after setting up a “stat chat” page on WhatsApp to keep a record of sex with women.

During his evidence, Hepburn – who was born in Western Australia and moved to England in 2013 to pursue his cricket career – fought back tears while being asked about the WhatsApp group.

He said he was “completely embarrassed” by comments he made, describing it as immature chat between friends.

Before the jury retired to consider its verdicts on two counts of rape, Judge Jim Tindal said the panel would have “no deadlines” and should take its time discussing the case.

During his summing up, the judge said Hepburn had posted the rules of the game to the WhatsApp group five days before the alleged rape.

The game had been played during the previous season, the judge said, adding: “It was effectively a competition – and I regret to use this word but it seems to be accurate – to ‘collect’ as many sexual conquests as possible.

“It’s about ‘collecting’ new girls – to them, ‘freshies’, as they put it.”