Two promising England cricketers have missed their India tour following a former teammate’s rape case. Joe Clarke and Tom Kohler-cadmore were due to fly with the England Lions, but they have been told to stay at home after England and Wales Cricket Board bosses learnt of their involvement in a Whatsapp group, which prosecutors used as evidence in the trial of Alex Hepburn, the Worcestershire cricketer.
Hepburn, 23, is facing a potential retrial after jurors at Worcester Crown Court failed to reach a verdict on two counts of rape. The court was told evidence on Hepburn’s phone included a Whatsapp group recording details of women its members slept with. The chat mentioned “freshies” and “reheats” referring to women they had either slept with before or not.
According to the prosecution, the “rules” of the group included “freshies” being rated out of 10 with the winner earning bragging rights and a free night out paid by the other two. Hepburn was accused of raping a woman in a dark bedroom shortly after she had consensual sex with Clarke. The woman said she thought she was still in bed with Clarke when she woke to find the cricketer performing a sex act on her, while Hepburn told the court that it was the woman who had initiated it by kissing him. Clarke was arrested but released without charge. Kohler-cadmore was not present when the alleged rape happened. Hepburn posted rules of the game five days before the alleged rape, which the prosecution alleged motivated him.
Summing up, Judge Jim Tindal said: “It was effectively a competition – and I regret to use this word but it seems to be accurate – to ‘collect’ as many sexual conquests as possible.”