Australian-born former Worcestershire county cricketer Alex Hepburn has been found guilty at a retrial for orally raping a sleeping woman as part of a sex game conducted on WhatsApp. He has been sentenced to five years in a UK prison.
The jury delivered a unanimous guilty verdict on one count of oral rape after deliberating for nearly 11 hours, the BBC and Sky television report. The court heard he was as involved in a sexual "conquest game" on WhatsApp where its members kept a score and listed details of the women its members had slept with.
The 23-year-old was cleared of a second rape charge involving the same woman, who had earlier had consensual sex with teammate Joe Clarke in his Worcester apartment after a night out with friends on April 1, 2017.
Hepburn had denied both charges.
Detective Chief Inspector Ian Wall said he hoped the sentence would offer some comfort to the victim.
"[She] has shown great courage and strength in coming forward in reporting this to us, throughout the investigation and in giving evidence in court," he said.
The Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA) said the case provided "a stark reminder to all PCA members of all requirements and behaviours demanded of a professional cricketer".
Detective Chief Inspector Ian Wall of West Mercia police welcomed the conviction and said Hepburn had been in "a position of trust and power" at the time of the assault. "I hope it will offer some comfort to the victim, who has shown great courage and strength in coming forward in reporting this to us, throughout the investigation and in giving evidence in court," he said.
Hepburn was handed a one-year contract extension at Worcestershire on October 12, 2017, but was suspended from playing any form of cricket after he was charged with two counts of rape on November 9 that year.