England hopeful Joe Clarke ‘ashamed’ of vulgar WhatsApp messages

Joe Clarke says he feels'embarrassment and shame'

Joe Clarke says he feels “embarrassment and shame” (Image: Getty)

Nottinghamshire cricketer Joe Clarke says he feels “embarrassed and ashamed” of his past involvement in a vulgar WhatsApp group with convicted rapist Alex Hepburn.

Clarke, 25, used the messaging app to discuss sexual conquests with former Worcestershire team-mates Hepburn and Tom Kohler-Cadmore in 2017.

Hepburn was Sentenced to five years in prison in 2019 after raping a woman who previously had consensual sex with Clarke.

The judge at Hepburn’s trial said the WhatsApp messages were “degrading women” and “downplaying rape”.

Clarke was not accused of misconduct on the night in question but the England and Wales Cricket Board did not make him available for selection, accusing him of discrediting the game.

The batsman has made 275 appearances in the county – scoring 25 centuries – and is believed to be set to play for England this summer.

Speak with Clarke told the Telegraph of his past actions: “I’ve been thinking a lot. It’s embarrassing and shameful that I was involved in something terrible.

File photo dated 30/4/2019 of cricketer Alex Hepburn, who is jailed for raping a sleeping woman in his team-mate's bedroom and will find out if his conviction is overturned. PA photo. Issue date: Tuesday June 30, 2020. Hepburn, 24, was sentenced to five years in prison in April last year for the 2017 assault that took place in a Worcester flat on the first night of a sexual conquest he helped organize, according to a WhatsApp Group. See PA story COURTS Cricket. Photo credit should read: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

Alex Hepburn was convicted of rape in 2019 (Image: Getty)

“It upsets me to see it now, so I totally understand why people get upset when they see it. It was completely wrong. It doesn’t reflect who I am now.

“It’s not something I forgot. I’m glad I now have the opportunity to say how sorry I am for being a part of all of this.”

Last month, New England Director of Men’s Cricket Rob Key opened the door for Clarke to play for the national team.

Clarke added: “It’s not about playing for England. It’s about owning what I did, that I made a mistake and that what I did was wrong.

Of the victim, who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, he said: “I feel like I let her down.

“She ended up being in my company and relying on me for her safety and I didn’t ensure that. I hope she has now found the happiness she deserves and managed to move on.”

Clarke is a highly rated batsman who has found success in domestic cricket and has played in Australia’s Big Bash League and Pakistan Super League.

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cricket England hopeful Joe Clarke 'ashamed' of vulgar WhatsApp messages

Nate Jones

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