Cricket : Worcestershire cricketer jailed for rape for five years, to appeal against conviction today

Australia-born cricketer Alex Hepburn’s appeal against sentence of jail for five years for raping a woman will be heard today. The former Worcestershire allrounder, has launched an appeal against his conviction for rape last year. The appeal is scheduled to be heard in London on Thursday. 

Hepburn, 24, was jailed for five years in April last year for the attack that took place at a flat in Worcester. Hepburn lodged an application to appeal some months ago and permission was granted on January 30. The Court of Appeal, where Hepburn’s case will be reviewed, is the second most senior court in England and Wales. It does not usually require witnesses to be recalled, but reviews the case from the records of the trial and the judge’s notes. It remains possible, however, that witnesses could be recalled.

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Prosecutors said the former Worcestershire all-rounder had been “fired up” by a contest to sleep with the most women, before carrying out the rape at his flat in Worcester, central England, in April 2017.

Judge Jim Tindal, jailing Hepburn at Hereford Crown Court, said the “immature” cricketer 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.” Hepburn’s lawyer, Michelle Heeley, said her client had expressed remorse.

In what the judge said was a “brave” victim impact statement, the woman Hepburn attacked described her ordeal as “evil” and a “heinous crime”.

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, who cannot be named for legal reasons, wrongly thought she was having sex with Hepburn’s then county teammate Joe Clarke, a batsman who has played for England’s second-string Lions, after meeting him at a nightclub.

She told jurors she had consensual sex with Clarke, who left his bedroom in the early hours to be sick in a bathroom, where he passed out.

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