Australian-born county cricketer Alex Hepburn pleads not guilty to raping a sleeping woman
An Australian professional cricketer based in Britain has pleaded not guilty to charges he raped a sleeping woman as part of a sex “game” with friends on WhatsApp.
- Alex Hepburn was playing for English county side Worcestershire in 2017 when he was charged with two counts of rape
- He has pleaded not guilty at trial, claiming the alleged victim was awake and consented to sex
- The prosecution told court he and others set up a WhatsApp sex “game” where members listed details of the women they slept with
Perth-born Worcestershire county cricketer Alex Hepburn was charged by police in November 2017 over an alleged incident at his then-home in the Worcester suburb of Diglis seven months earlier.
On the opening day of a trial at Worcester Crown Court, Mr Hepburn, now 23, pleaded not guilty to two counts of rape.
He claimed that the alleged victim was awake at the time and that she consented to having sex, the BBC reported.
Presenting the prosecution opening, Miranda Moore QC told the court the alleged victim had consensual sex with Mr Hepburn’s teammate and flatmate Joe Clarke after a night out.
Ms Moore said the woman had later woken up and realised she was not with Mr Clarke — who had left the room — when the man performing a sex act on her spoke in an Australian accent.
The jury was told that a member of the public rang police after finding the woman on the street “distressed and crying”.
The prosecution also alleged that according to WhatsApp messages from Mr Hepburn’s mobile phone, the Australian was part of a “stat chat” group where members shared details of the women they slept with.
“He saw that girl asleep in the bed and decided to take advantage,” Ms Moore said. “That is what this case is about, this defendant’s attitude to women.”
Mr Hepburn moved to England in 2013 to pursue a professional cricket career.
He played for Worcestershire’s second team in county cricket, and finished the 2017 season as the team’s top run-scorer and wicket-taker.
At the time of the charges being laid, the club announced Mr Hepburn had been suspended on full pay.
The case is set to continue on Tuesday evening Australian time.