Alex Hepburn: Woman raped by cricketer ‘humiliated’ and suffering facial paralysis after trauma of WhatsApp ‘game’

'Hepburn has no idea the rippling affect his rape has had on someone… There was no thought for me through all of this'

Emma Snaith
Tuesday 21 May 2019 12:24
Woman raped by former cricketer 'humiliated' by WhatsApp sexual conquest game

A woman who was raped by a cricketer while asleep as part of a sexual conquest “game” has said she has been left feeling “humiliated” and now suffers from facial paralysis.

Australian-born former Worcestershire cricketer Alex Hepburn was sentenced to five years in prison last month for the attack.

The 23-year-old assaulted the victim at his flat in Worcester in April 2017, after helping to set up a game on WhatsApp to see how many women the members of the group he and his friends could have sex with.

Hepburn was allegedly “fired up” by the contest and raped the woman as she lay in his then-team mate Joe Clarke's bed.

The woman told BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme today that it was “humiliating” to discover that she had been part of a “game” at Hepburn’s trial.

She added that the stress of the attack has led her to develop Bell's palsy, a partial paralysis of the face.

In addition, she has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The woman said that she struggled to initially "put two and two together" and realise she had been raped.

In court, the woman said she was sleeping at the start of the encounter and had believed she was with Mr Clarke until Hepburn spoke in an Australian accent.

She told the BBC that she remembered finding Mr Clarke after the attack and telling him "again and again and again 'your friend has had sex with me'".

She said: "Once I'd grabbed my clothes, I ran out to the street and stopped a passer-by. I told her everything that happened and she rang the police."

The woman said she hoped speaking out about the attack would help other victims of rape.

“Hepburn has no idea the rippling affect his rape has had on someone…There was no thought for me through all of this,” she said.

She added: “The most difficult thing about court is being made out a liar – when you know it’s true”

The woman said that now Hepburn has been convicted, she had reached an "epiphany, where I could think about my future again for the first time".

She said: "I wanted to go travelling when I left university. I wanted to go on to do a PGCE [Postgraduate Certificate of Education] to be a primary school teacher and I delayed all of that because of the trial."

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Victoria Derbyshire said the interview, which was the victim's first on TV or radio, was “the most searing account I've ever heard of the impact rape has on an individual”.

Hepburn's barrister, Michelle Heeley QC, said in court that he had expressed "true remorse". She added: "He has lost everything: his career, his good character and ultimately his liberty."

But in what the judge called a “brave” victim impact statement, the woman described her ordeal as “evil” and a “heinous crime”.

Hepburn is currently seeking to appeal against his conviction.

If you have been affected by sexual violence, you can find help via the NHS. Rape Crisis offers specialist support for women and girls; and the The Survivors’ Trust supports people of any gender