Victim’s face ‘froze’ in sex attack
Disgraced Australian cricketer Alex Hepburn's victim has revealed how the trauma of him orally raping her sparked a medical condition that left her face paralysed.
The university graduate was left with a frozen face, which was feared to be a stroke, after Hepburn attacked her as part of a vile "sex conquest" game, The Sunday Mirror reports.
Hepburn, 23, was jailed last month after attacking her while she lay in his Worcestershire teammate's bed.
The victim, whose identity is being protected, went through the ordeal of giving evidence twice after a jury didn't reach a verdict earlier this year, The Sun reports.
Hepburn was given five years at the retrial, which he is now appealing.
Judge Tim Tindal told him he had treated his victim "like a piece of meat" and the "game" on WhatsApp showed his "foul sexism" and "demeaned women and trivialised rape".
The 23-year-old victim told The Sunday Mirror how she was rushed to the hospital with a suspected stroke four months after she was attacked.
Doctors told her she had a stress-induced condition that temporarily paralyses facial muscles called Bell's Palsy.
She said: "They said after everything I'd been through my body was shutting down.
"As the day went on my eye drooped and the side of my face froze. It took months to go back to normal.
"I had to drink through a straw. It stopped me working. I didn't want to leave home."
The victim suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder from the attack and the trials as well as losing two stone and enduring crippling panic attacks.
Hepburn, who is now out of contract with the Worcestershire cricket club, attacked her after she had consensual sex with his teammate Joe Clarke.
Worcester Crown Court heard that a couple of days before the attack, Hepburn, Mr Clarke and another friend known only as Tom, set up the WhatsApp group called 'Stat Chat'.
Members would reveal details of all their sexual encounters with girls known as "freshies or re heats" and rate them based on their performances in bed.
In the group the pals would shamelessly joke about "dragging the birds back" and "raping them" and bragged about getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases in the summer.
Jurors heard Hepburn, who thought he was "God's gift to Worcester", attacked his victim as he wanted to beat best friend Mr Clarke who had won the "competition" in the previous year.
She met Mr Clarke at a restaurant where she worked at the time and it was only during the trial she discovered she was part of sordid sex game where teammates tried to bed the most women.
The victim went to his flat on April 1, 2017 to have consensual sex when she then woke up to a man performing a sex act on her.
She thought it was the 22-year-old who now plays for Nottinghamshire, but realised it was Hepburn when she heard his Australian accent.
She told the Mail On Sunday: "I'm sure what he actually thought was, 'She'll be grateful for this.'"
She added: "He was pawing at my legs, telling me I was beautiful.
"I remember curling up in the foetal position, not knowing what to do."
She managed to lock herself in a bathroom to phone a male friend to get her and as she left she found Mr Clarke slumped near a toilet in another bathroom.
It was two years later that Hepburn was found guilty of one count of oral rape and cleared of one rape charge.
She slammed the court process in which she said jurors heard he was described as a "good round egg" and she was branded as "easy".
This story was originally published in The Sun and is reprinted with permission.