Alex Hepburn, pictured arriving at Worcester Crown Court with girlfriend Lucy Street yesterday. A jury failed to reach a verdict today and he could now face a retrial in April
A jury has been discharged after failing to reach a verdict in the trial of a cricketer accused of raping a sleeping woman after she'd had sex with his team-mate.
Former Worcestershire all-rounder Alex Hepburn, 23, denies two counts of rape alleged to have been committed in April 2017.
Following a five-day trial at Worcester Crown Court, Judge Jim Tindal said he would accept a majority verdict, but after deliberating for more than nine hours, a jury of four men and eight women could not come to a decision.
Hepburn, wearing a dark blue suit, white shirt and grey tie, put his head in hands and left the dock with tears in his eyes after the decision was announced.
Judge Tindal said: 'Members of the jury thank you very much for your note outlining your position.
'You have been deliberating for two days, it has been an extremely difficult and high profile case. I now discharge you as a jury.'
The Crown Prosecution Service now has two weeks to decide whether or not to pursue a retrial, which could take place in April.
Hepburn, 23, was accused of taking advantage of his student victim shortly after she had slept with his 22-year-old teammate Joe Clarke.
The cricketer (pictured with girlfriend Lucy Street) was pictured throughout the trial holding hands with his partner as he arrived at court
The woman, in her 20s, met ex-England Lions star Clarke in a nightclub before going back to his flat in Worcester, where she had consensual sex with him.
After they had sex and Clarke passed out on the toilet, she claimed she woke up hours later to find Mr Hepburn raping her.
The court heard how Hepburn and Clarke, who both played for Worcestershire CCC, started a sexual conquest game just days earlier via WhatsApp called 'Stat Chat'.
Mr Hepburn, who was accompanied throughout the trial by girlfriend Lucy Street, said the rules of the group were set up by him for a bit of 'fun' and admitted he had threesomes in the past with Clarke.
Alex Hepburn yesterday
But he denied allegations he thought he was 'God's gift to Worcester' and that he had raped the woman out of desperation to try and win the contest.
'The competition was about sleeping with different women,' he told the court. 'I am completely embarrassed, my family has had to see them - it was nothing more than just immature chat between friends.
'It didn't mean anything - it was us bragging to each other. We wrote immaturely. I used the word rape in the chat because I was young and it didn't mean anything to me. I have never thought the definition of the word was funny.
'In that chat we spoke about taking a photo and captioning it 'top sh*****' for the winner.
'Me and Joe boasted in the group we would do well. The year before I finished second to Joe. Not much thought went into this at the time. This accusation is the reason why I stopped the game - it scared me.'
The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, says she fled the flat after the alleged attack. Jurors hear she was discovered distressed and sobbing in the street by a passer-by.
Giving evidence, Mr Hepburn said she 'fully engaged' in having sex with him and 'seemed to enjoy it'.
He said he entered Mr Clarke's room at their flat - after seeing him leaning against a wall in the bathroom - because he had previously arranged to sleep in his friend's bed.
He claimed he had found the complainant next to him as he got into bed naked before she came on to him and started kissing him. Describing himself as drunk at the time of the alleged offence, the player said: 'After I had got myself into bed, that's when I first realised that there was a woman in the bed.
'The lighting was dim. You couldn't make out the door on the other side of the room but you could see what was in front of you and around. She rolled over towards me. She kissed me.'
He added: 'Her eyes were open before we kissed,' he said. 'I didn't say anything - I responded to the kiss - before we I kissed I recognised her.'
Hepburn arrives at Worcester Crown Court yesterday as the jury continued their deliberations
Mr Hepburn says that she then performed a sex act on him that she was 'actively engaging' in and seemed to be 'enjoying it'.
He said they then had sex, adding: 'It lasted about 10 mins, she was enjoying it because she was actively engaging with me and from the noises she was making.
'I didn't look at her at that point - the sex ended with her asking me what I was doing. I replied 'what do you mean?' I said that because we had just had consensual sex .
'She asked where Joe was I told her that he was in the bathroom. Initially when she stopped I tried to instigate it more by saying 'come on' and putting my hand on her thigh - because I was under the impression that what we were doing was normal.
'She just kept saying: 'Where is Joe? Where is Joe?' She then tried to call Joe on the phone but he didn't answer.
Mr Hepburn's team mate Joe Clarke (pictured) had consensual sex with the woman before passing out in the toilet
'The phone rang next to the bed - she then hopped up and went to the toilet in the room - I stayed in the bed.'
He told Worcester Crown Court they had sex for around 20 minutes before the woman got up and told him: 'You just raped me you sick b****rd.'
Breaking down in tears, he added: 'She left the bathroom distress she said the words you're a sick b****rd you just raped me - which I completely denied because it wasn't true.
'I believe she was fully engaging - she knew it was me and I believe it was consensual sex. I didn't pretend to be anyone else - I did not rape her.'
Mr Hepburn told the court how Clarke, who now plays for Nottinghamshire CCC, confronted him after the woman ran from their flat accusing him of rape.
'I saw Joe when he came into the room - he yelled 'Alex' before he came into the room,' he said. 'He came in and said the woman had just claimed that I raped her - I said no.'
'Reheats' and threesomes
WhatsApp messages detailing the men's excitement at the start of their sex competition were read to the court yesterday.
The texts included references to at least one threesome and also discussed whether 'reheats' – girls the men had had sex with previously – would count if they had sex with them again.
Rape accused Alex Hepburn requested logs of the woman's name, age, race, a rating out of ten, whether the men were wearing a condom and their 'performance out of ten'.
He said that he and Clarke are of a similar height but that his friend has more hair on his body.
'I was shocked when he asked me if I had raped her, I was confused, I couldn't believe it,' he said. 'The police arrived and then arrested me - I was then put into a cell.
'Me and Joe and have spoken since about the offence but only to see how each other was holding up.
'I am no longer employed by Worcestershire Cricket Club after my contract expired last year. I just play amateur now because of this allegation.'
Under cross-examination by prosecutor Miranda Moore QC, Hepburn said he was no longer employed by Worcestershire because his contract had not been renewed.
Ms Moore then asserted: 'This is a case about you, fired up by this 'game' you were so keen to play with your mates, taking advantage of a girl that you knew was asleep in Joe's bed.'
Mr Hepburn answered: 'Not true.' As he sobbed in the dock, Ms Moore continued: 'The reason you are crying now is the world knows how you behave.'
Standing by her man: The girlfriend who held Alex Hepburn's hand every day in the face of rape allegations
As Alex Hepburn faced allegations of rape at Worcester Crown Court, there was one stable presence by his side.
Each day the all-rounder was pictured holding hands with student Lucy Rtreet as he headed in to face trial.
Ms Street is currently studying graphic design at Nottingham Trent University in the East Midlands.
She and the sportsman have been pictured in loving embraces on her Facebook profile, which features holiday snaps of them lapping up the sun in a swimming pool.
The couple have been dating for at least 14 months and Ms Street was spotted dutifully supporting her boyfriend each day in this week's court case.
Mr Hepburn is pictured with Lucy Street, who accompanied him daily at his trial as he faced allegations of rape
A holiday snap shows the couple enjoying a dip in the bool underneath the sun