Shropshire cricket club rejects approach to sign player jailed for rape

Oswestry Cricket Club has confirmed it has rejected an 'informal approach' about the possibility of signing a former Worcestershire player who was jailed for rape.

Alex Hepburn
Alex Hepburn

In a statement, the club said the approach concerned Australian-born Alex Hepburn, 25, who was convicted of oral rape at a retrial in 2019 and sentenced to five years in prison.

The statement said: "Oswestry Cricket Club can confirm that an informal approach has been received from a third party as to the possibility of former Worcestershire cricketer, Alex Hepburn, training and/or playing at the club next season following his release from prison. No direct or informal approach has been made by the player himself.

"In the event that Mr Hepburn were to make request and /or apply to join Oswestry Cricket Club, the Committee has overwhelmingly decided that any such request or application would be refused.

At his trial, Hereford Crown Court heard how Hepburn carried out the attack at is flat in Portland Street, Worcester, on April 1 2017, during the first night of a sexual conquest “game” he helped to set up on a WhatsApp group.

Jurors were also told that the woman wrongly thought she was having sex with Hepburn’s then county teammate Joe Clarke, from Oswestry, after meeting him at a nightclub.

Jailing Hepburn after the four-day trial, Judge Jim Tindal told the “immature” cricketer he and a former team mate had agreed a “pathetic sexist game to collect as many sexual encounters as possible”.

He added: “You probably thought it was laddish behaviour at the time. In truth it was foul sexism.

“It demeaned women and trivialised rape – a word you personally threw around lightly.

“Only now do you realise how serious rape is.”

An appeal against his conviction failed in 2020 when three senior judges at the Court of Appeal ruled his convicted was safe.

Hepburn was cleared of a further count of rape relating to the same victim.

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