A DETECTIVE chief inspector has welcomed the news former Worcestershire County cricketer Alex Hepburn has been convicted of rape.

Hepburn wept as the jury convicted him by unanimous verdict of a single count of oral rape, following a retrial at Worcester Crown Court.

The 23-year-old, of Portland Street, Diglis, was also cleared of a second count of rape on Friday, following jury deliberations that took around 11 hours.

The jury heard how the assault took place at a city centre flat in April 2017.

The victim had gone home with Hepburn's teammate Joe Clarke and said she was asleep on a mattress at the flat when Hepburn climbed into bed with her. She said she believed the defendant was Mr Clarke.

The Australian national is to be sentenced later this month, and has been warned he faces an inevitable jail sentence.

Detective Chief Inspector 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 Worcestershire County Cricket Club and I hope this conviction will provide reassurance to other victims of sexual offences, giving them the confidence that 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.”

Fanos Hira, Worcestershire County Cricket Club’s chairman, added: “WCCC is appalled by the details that have been reported in this case. The WCCC board and CEO were first made aware of the arrest and subsequent charge of Mr Hepburn on November 10, 2017; WCCC then took immediate and decisive action.

“Our One Club values outline clear expectations of attitudes and behaviours for all staff at WCCC and everyone involved in Worcestershire cricket.”

“WCCC continues to work alongside both the ECB and PCA focusing on education, welfare and development programmes for all staff within the game.”

Anyone who wants to report a sexual assault can also contact the confidential support service West Mercia’s Victim Advice Line by calling 0800 952 3000 or visit victimadviceline.org.uk.

The Glade Sexual Assault Referral Centre, in Bransford, can also be called to discuss support – whether you have reported an assault to police or not - on 0808 178 2058.

READ MORE: Jury find former county cricketer Alex Hepburn guilty of one count of rape