Aussie cricketer jailed for rape
AN Australian cricketer who raped a woman he found "dozing" in his teammate's bedroom has been jailed for five years by an English court.
Alex Hepburn, 23, was convicted after an attack he carried out during the first night of a sexual conquest "game" he helped to set up on a WhatsApp group.
The former Worcestershire county all-rounder was said by the prosecution 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.
Jailing Hepburn at Hereford Crown Court on Tuesday, Judge Jim Tindal told the "immature" cricketer he and a former teammate had agreed a "pathetic sexist game to collect as many sexual encounters as possible".
He added: "You probably thought it was laddish behaviour at the time. "In truth it was foul sexism.
"It demeaned women and trivialised rape - a word you personally threw around lightly.
"Only now do you realise how serious rape is."
His barrister Michelle Heeley QC said her client had expressed remorse.
In what the judge called a "brave" victim impact statement, the woman Hepburn attacked described her ordeal as "evil" and a "heinous crime".
Judge Tindal praised her for giving evidence through two trials, adding: "I hope she can now finally be able to look to her future which will be, I am sure, bright."
A jury had found Hepburn guilty of oral rape at a retrial 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 teammate Joe Clarke after meeting him at a nightclub.
She told jurors she had consensual sex with England Lions batsman Clarke, who left his bedroom in the early hours to be sick in a bathroom, where he passed out.