Alex Hepburn, the former Worcestershire allrounder, has been jailed for five years at Hereford Crown Court after being found guilty of raping a sleeping woman in his team-mate’s bed.
Hepburn, 23, had been warned at the conclusion of his retrial earlier this month that a jail sentence was inevitable, after he had been found guilty on one count of oral rape, relating to an attack that took place at his flat in Worcester in April 2017.
In the course of the four-day trial at Worcester Crown Court, 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.
Hepburn, it was alleged, had been “fired up” by the contest and took advantage of his victim after finding her alone on a mattress on the floor of the the flat that he shared with Clarke.
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 handing down his sentence, judge Jim Tindal said: “I sentence you on the basis the jury were sure the victim was woken by you but was still barely awake and in the dark thought you were Joe Clarke.
“You thought you were God’s gift to women. You saw the victim as a piece of meat, not another human entitled to respect.”
After the verdict, the Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) had released a statement emphasising 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.”