A FORMER Worcestershire cricketer has been convicted of one count of rape at Worcester Crown Court after a five-day trial.
Alex Hepburn, 23, of Portland Street was found guilty by the jury of one count of rape and not guilty on a second count of rape. He is due to be sentenced on April 30.
The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was attacked at a city centre flat in April 2017 following a night out with friends.
The court heard the investigation was launched after a member of the public called the police.
Following the verdict, Det Chief Insp Ian Wall said: “We welcome the conviction and 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.
“At the time of the offence Hepburn was in a position of trust and power as a professional sportsman for local team Worcestershire County Cricket Club.
“I hope this conviction will provide reassurance to other victims of sexual offences, giving them the confidence they will be believed and listened to by specially trained officers and that we will do everything to bring offenders to justice.”
“If you are a victim of a sexual offence you can report it to police on 101. In an emergency dial 999.”
Pears chairman Fanos Hira has revealed club chiefs were left ‘appalled’ at the details revealed during the case at Worcester Crown Court.
In a statement released following the verdict, Mr Hira said the club’s board and former chief executive were first made aware of Hepburn’s arrest the following day and took ‘immediate and decisive action’.
Worcestershire CCC informed the ECB who imposed suspensions which prevented Hepburn from cricket at any level.
Last September, Hepburn’s Worcestershire contract expired and has not been renewed.
“Our OneClub values outline clear expectations of attitudes and behaviours for all staff at WCCC and everyone involved in Worcestershire cricket,” Mr Hira said.
“WCCC continues to work alongside both the ECB and PCA focussing on education, welfare and development programmes for all staff within the game.”
In a statement, the Professional Cricketers’ Association said: “This public case provides a stark reminder to all PCA members of all requirements and behaviours demanded of a professional cricketer, provided through its Personal Development and Welfare Programme, which is facilitated closely alongside the ECB and first-class counties.
“Throughout the criminal investigations, we have provided suitable advice and assistance to Alex.
“As the game’s player association, offering support and guidance to players in times of turbulence is a fundamental responsibility for the PCA.”
Anyone who is a victim of any sexual assault who feels they may need support or may not want to contact the police West Mercia’s Victim Advice Line is a free, independent and confidential support service.
Call 0800 952 3000 or visit www.victimadviceline.org.uk for more.