A WORCESTERSHIRE cricketer who raped a "barely-awake" woman in his team-mate's bed as part of a sick sexual conquest game on WhatsApp has been jailed for five years.

Alex Hepburn, 23, assaulted the woman at his flat while she was asleep in the bed of fellow cricketer Joe Clarke.

The woman, 23, went home with former-England Lions star Clarke, 22, after meeting him in a champagne bar on April 1, 2017.

Clarke and the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had consensual sex before Clarke passed out in the bathroom after being sick.

Hepburn, who believed he was "God's gift to women", then took his opportunity to rape the "dozing" girl and use her as a "disposable object".

The attack came just days after he set the rules of the "dehumanising" contest which scored points by having sex with as many new partners as possible.

In the group he boasted how he was "always dragging the birds back" and joked that his team-mates would only win by raping women.

Australian-born Hepburn, an all-rounder, was said to have been "fired up" by the competition to sleep with the most women and saw the victim "as a piece of meat".

He was found guilty earlier this month of orally raping the woman but cleared of another rape charge involving the same victim following a trial at Worcester Crown Court.

Today (April 30) he was jailed for five years and placed on the Sex Offenders' Register for life at Hereford Crown Court.

Sentencing, Judge Jim Tindal said: "I sentence you on the basis the jury were sure the victim was woken by you but was still barely awake and in the dark thought you were Joe Clarke.

"You thought you were God's gift to women. You saw the victim as a piece of meat, not another human entitled to respect.

"You probably thought it was laddish behaviour at the time. In truth it was foul sexism.

"It demeaned women and trivialised rape - a word you personally threw around lightly."

Hepburn, wearing a blue suit, white shirt and blue tie, was tearful as he was led away to the cells.

The trial heard that a couple of days before the attack, Hepburn, Clarke and another friend known only as Tom, set up a WhatsApp group called "Stat Chat".

Members would reveal details of all their sexual encounters with girls known as "freshies" and rate them based on their performances in bed.

Jurors heard Hepburn attacked his victim as he wanted to beat best friend Clarke who had won the "competition" last year.

The victim had fallen asleep after having sex with Clarke, who now plays for Nottinghamshire CCC, at the apartment in Albion Mill, Worcester.

She woke to find Hepburn straddling her while she was still "in a daze" and pushed him away before running from the flat where she was found in a state of distress by a passer-by.

She told police she had thought it had been Clarke "being cheeky" and "went along with it" before realising it was Hepburn.

She told police: "It wasn't until I heard his voice and touched his hair I realised it wasn't Joe."

Giving evidence, the victim sobbed: "When I realised it was him, I was confused.

"I couldn't understand why it wasn't the person who I fell asleep next to.

"When I pushed him he was kind of pawing at my legs and encouraging me telling I'm beautiful."

Detective Chief Inspector Ian Wall, of West Mercia police, said after the case: "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 and I hope this conviction will provide reassurance to other victims of sexual offences."