Cricketer Alex Hepburn loses bid to overturn conviction after he was jailed for five years for raping sleeping woman during sexual conquest ‘game’
- Alex Hepburn, 24, was jailed for five years in April last year for Worcester attack
- Jury had found Australian Hepburn guilty of oral rape at a retrial the same month
- It came on the first night of a sexual conquest competition with friends in 2017
- Hepburn had challenged his conviction at the Court of Appeal earlier this month
- Three senior judges, including Lord Chief Justice, did not overturn his conviction
Ex-Worcestershire star Alex Hepburn (pictured last year), 24, raped a student, 23, after she had consensual sex with flatmate Joe Clarke in their Worcester flat on April 1, 2017
A cricketer jailed for raping a sleeping woman in his teammate’s bedroom has lost his Court of Appeal bid to have his conviction overturned.
Alex Hepburn, 24, was jailed for five years in April last year for the attack, which took place at a flat in Worcester in 2017 during the first night of a sexual conquest competition he helped set up on a WhatsApp group.
A jury had found Hepburn guilty of oral rape at a retrial that same month, but cleared him of a further count of rape relating to the same victim.
At the trial, the Australian-born former Worcestershire 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, on April 1 2017.
Hepburn challenged his conviction at the Court of Appeal earlier this month.
But today three senior judges, including the Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett, dismissed his appeal, saying: ‘The conviction is not unsafe.’
At the Court of Appeal hearing, Hepburn’s lawyers argued messages presented to the jury did not show he was willing to have sex with a woman without consent.
Australian Hepburn and his girlfriend Lucy Street attend his sentencing at Hereford Crown Court on April 30 last year. He was sentenced to five years
Many of the messages related to a game between Hepburn and a number of others to gain sexual encounters, the court was told.
Hepburn’s barrister, David Emanuel QC, said: ‘The idea propagated by the Crown, that he was so desperate to win the game this year that he would ignore true consent if he had to, is just not supported by anything in the messages or by the fact of the game itself.’
Mr Emanuel told the judges: ‘I accept it would be different if there was talk of sex against will, or trickery to gain a point, or taking a chance, but there’s nothing like that in the messages.
Hepburn and his girlfriend Ms Street. Hepburn raped a 23-year-old university student while she was asleep in his Worcester flat in England’s West Midlands on April 1, 2017
‘They are too far removed as to be able to be to do with the facts of the alleged offence.’
Miranda Moore QC, representing the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), argued it was right these WhatsApp messages were heard at the trial.
She told the court ‘this wasn’t a bit of boyish banter at a point in time’ but a ‘deep-seated and long-running game between a number of professional sportsmen’.
Jailing Hepburn at Hereford Crown Court on April 30 last year, Judge Jim Tindal told the cricketer he and a former teammate, Joe Clarke, had agreed to a ‘pathetic sexist game to collect as many sexual encounters as possible’, following a similar stunt the previous year.
In remarks about the WhatsApp chat group, the judge said: ‘You probably thought it was laddish behaviour at the time. In truth it was foul sexism.’
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