Cricketer Alex Hepburn goes back to trial for rape
Australian all-rounder Alex Hepburn has gone on trial for the second time for allegedly raping a woman while in her sleep at his flat in Portland Street, Worcester.
The incident occurred in the first weekend of “stat game,” a conquest involving sex where less than a week before Hepburn had posted the rules of the game on a WhatsApp group that also included his flat mate Clarke.
Raped in her Sleep
Prosecutors claim that the former Worcestershire all-rounder raped the complainant in her sleep. Prosecutor Miranda Moore, while opening the case at Worcester Crown Court, said that the woman had consensual sex with Hepburn’s flat mate Clarke after meeting him at a nightclub the previous night. Clarke, a fellow cricketer who plays as a batsman for the England Lions had fallen asleep in the bathroom when the incident occurred having left the bedroom because he felt sick.
The court heard that the woman had woken up wrongly believing that she was having sex with Clarke only to realize that it was Hepburn. She told the police that after several minutes of sexual activity with the accused, he spoke in a “thick” Australian accent and that is when she became fully aware that he was not Clarke. She was speaking to the police in a recorded interview whose video was shown to the jury on the first day of the cricketer’s retrial.
The woman, who cannot be named, then left the 2-bedroom flat and alerted a passerby who placed a call to 999. The court heard that Hepburn was then arrested in the wee hours of April 1, 2017.
The prosecutor argues, “A sleeping girl cannot consent” hence she would not have allowed sexual activity with the accused. Ms. Moore also added that Hepburn should have been in his bed and not in Clarke’s bed where the woman was; therefore, he would have known she was with his flatmate.
The “stat game”
A jury of six women and six men was informed that forensic experts had examined recovered WhatsApp messages from mobile phones which showed Hepburn, his flatmate together with another man having a “conversation” discussing how many women they could score and have sex with during the period of the ‘stat game”.
Ms. Moore told the court that Hepburn had posted the “rules of the game” where he said the contest would begin on March 31, 2017 and conclude in September.
While closing the opening speech, the prosecutor told the jury that Mr. Hepburn’s distasteful behavior could be the reason why he did not go back to the flat with a girl and purposely took advantage of the sleeping girl while being fully aware that she was interested in Clarke and not in him. She closed by posing the question of whether Hepburn was seeking to score points in their distasteful and laddish game even at the expense of the woman.
Denying the Accusations
The 23 year old denied the accusations, claiming that the sex was consensual and that the woman had actually instigated it.
The accused told the Worcester Crown Court that the woman had rolled over on a mattress towards him, made eye contact with him, and kissed him.
He does admit though that the woman had asked him what he was doing when she realized he was not Mr. Clarke, which left him confused since he had felt the moment was no different to a “normal” sexual encounter.
Excused from Jury Service
Judge Jim Tindal had excused two likely jurors from sitting at the beginning of the retrial after indicating that reading previous media reports led them to form a view about the case.
The trial continues.
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