Alex Hepburn, the former Worcestershire allrounder, has launched an appeal against his conviction for rape last year. The appeal is scheduled to be heard in London on June 4.
Hepburn was sentenced to five years in prison in April 2019 after his conviction on one count of oral rape after a retrial at Worcestershire Crown Court.
The jury heard that the victim, who was left with a post-traumatic stress disorder that included facial paralysis, had thought she was having consensual sex with Hepburn’s then county colleague Joe Clarke, in April 2017.
In the course of the four-day trial, the jury heard how Hepburn had “dehumanised” women, rating them in text messages to his team-mates in a “sexual conquest competition” on the social media platform WhatsApp.
Hepburn, it was alleged, had been “fired up” by the contest and took advantage of his victim after finding her alone on a mattress on the floor of the flat he shared with Clarke.
During sentencing at Hereford Crown Court, Judge Jim Tindal told Hepburn: “You thought you were God’s gift to women. You saw the victim as a piece of meat, not another human entitled to respect.”
ESPNcricinfo understands the Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) has not assisted Hepburn in this chapter of his legal proceedings and was not aware his request for an appeal had been granted.
Following the case, the PCA – with the help of funding from the ECB – established a sexual consent training workshop. Every England player, male and female, as well as players at all 18 first-class counties and all Kia Super League teams were obliged to experience the classes.
Hepburn lodged an application to appeal some months ago and permission was granted on January 30. The Court of Appeal, where Hepburn’s case will be reviewed, is the second most senior court in England and Wales. It does not usually require witnesses to be recalled, but reviews the case from the records of the trial and the judge’s notes. It remains possible, however, that witnesses could be recalled.