Hep­burn faces sex claim re­trial

The Sunday Times - - NEWS -

A PERTH crick­eter ac­cused of rap­ing a sleep­ing woman shortly after she had sex with his friend faces the prospect of a re-trial after a UK jury failed to reach a ver­dict.

Alex Hep­burn, 23, was playing county cricket for Worces­ter­shire in April 2017 when it is al­leged he crept into the bed­room of team­mate Joe Clarke and sex­u­ally as­saulted a woman Mr Clarke had just had con­sen­sual sex with.

After a five-day trial, the jury de­lib­er­ated for more than nine hours but could not reach con­sen­sus de­spite be­ing of­fered the chance by Judge Jim Tin­dal to reach a ma­jor­ity 10-2 decision.

In­stead the jury was dis­charged, Hep­burn was bailed and a pro­vi­sional re­trial date was listed for April 8.

The Crown Pros­e­cu­tion Ser­vice now has two weeks to de­cide whether or not to pur­sue a re­trial.

Ear­lier, pros­e­cu­tor Mi­randa Moore QC al­leged Hep­burn was mo­ti­vated by a sex­ual con­quest “game” after setting up a What­sApp group chat to keep a record of the num­ber of women he and his friends had slept with. In tes­ti­mony to Worces­ter­shire Crown Court on Tuesday, the vic­tim said she was ini­tially asleep dur­ing the al­leged rape and thought Hep­burn was his team­mate Mr Clarke, who had in fact left the room to throw up in the bath­room.

Hep­burn was born in WA and moved to Eng­land in 2013 to pur­sue a cricket ca­reer. He strongly de­nies two charges of rape, claim­ing the al­leged vic­tim was awake and that ini­tial kiss­ing led to con­sen­sual sex­ual con­tact.

In doubt: Alex Hep­burn out­side court this week.

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