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Cricketer accused of rape slept with 20 women in a similar 'game', court told

Trial: Alex Hepburn
Trial: Alex Hepburn

By Matthew Cooper

A cricketer accused of committing rape during a sexual conquest "game" had slept with 20 women during a similar competition a year earlier, a court has heard.

Former Worcestershire all-rounder Alex Hepburn denies raping a woman who claims he began attacking her while she was asleep at his flat in Worcester in April 2017.

A re-trial at the city's Crown Court has been told the complainant contacted police after realising she was in bed with Hepburn and not his then team-mate Joe Clarke. Prosecutors allege Hepburn, then aged 21, raped the woman, who was also aged in her 20s, in a bedroom while Clarke, who had been sick, was asleep in a bathroom.

During his evidence on the third day of his trial, Hepburn said the woman made eye contact with him and then kissed him, instigating a "normal" sexual encounter lasting around 20 minutes. Hepburn - who posted the rules of the competition on a WhatsApp group in the week before the alleged rape - told jurors he was left confused when the woman pushed him off and asked: "Where's Joe?"

Asked about the moment the woman is alleged to have realised she was not with Mr Clarke, Hepburn added: "She said 'what are you doing?' to which I replied 'What do you mean?'

"I was confused why she had asked me that question. It was no different to a normal sexual encounter."

Hepburn's defence barrister, Michelle Heeley QC, asked him: "Had it occurred to you that she might have thought she was having sex with Joe as opposed to you?" Hepburn answered: "No."

The court has heard the alleged victim, who had been drinking wine and spirits, had earlier had consensual sex with Clarke, who she had met in a nightclub.

At the start of around 90 minutes of testimony, Hepburn admitted he sent "disgusting, horrible and embarrassing" WhatsApp messages while setting the rules of the sexual conquest competition. Asked to give a "ball-park" figure for his score the previous year, Hepburn told the court: "20."

At the conclusion of her questioning, prosecutor Miranda Moore QC said to Hepburn: "Is not this evening the culmination of this unpleasant game you were playing that night - coming back and thinking you will get one over on Joe?"

Hepburn, who denies two counts of rape, answered: "No."

The trial continues.

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