Irish stars' rape trial reveals graphic details
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Prosecutors have outlined the case against Ireland Rugby stars Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding and two other men on the first day of their rape trial at Belfast Crown Court.
It is alleged that the Ulster pair Jackson and Olding raped a 21-year-old student at a house party at Jackson’s house on the night of June 28, 2016.
Two other men have had lesser charges brought against them in connection with the alleged incident.
Blane McIlroy (26) from Royal Lodge Road, Ballydollaghan, Belfast, is accused of one count of exposure, while Rory Harrison (25) from Manse Road, Belfast, is charged with perverting the course of justice and withholding information.
The court also heard that the players boasted about the alleged incident in a WhatsApp group conversation the following day.
Prosecutor Toby Hebworth QC gave his opening address, in which he outlined the case against the men in some detail.
Hebworth said that the case "involves a young woman going to an after party with other females at the home of a well-known sportsman, Patrick Jackson, the first defendant.
"He was accompanied by the remaining defendants, who were all close friends of his.
"The night ended, we say, with the first two defendants engaging in sexual activity with that young woman against her wishes, as they well knew or as they simply were not interested in considering. The third was hoping to join in,"
The court heard that the alleged victim and the defendants met at a nightclub in Belfast in which a number of Ulster Rugby players and a group of Northern Irish football players were in attendance.
The alleged victim in the case left with the group at approximately 2.30am to attend at a house party at Jackson’s home in Belfast.
Hedworth said: "She does recall that at one stage she was in that room (bedroom) and was consensually kissing him but had made it plain to him that she would go no further,"
The pair headed downstairs, where the 21-year-old student states the ‘atmosphere had changed’. The prosecutor outlined how she returned to Jackson’s bedroom to collect her clutch bag, only to be followed moments later by Jackson, whereupon the court heard he raped her.
"He had not in any way sought her consent and indeed had used force to achieve his aim," Hedworth said. After this, it is claimed Stuart Olding entered the room at which point the victim said "Please not him as well,"
The court heard he then forced her to engage in oral sex with him.
After this, a third man – Blane McIlroy – entered the room naked after having texted a request to join in a ‘threesome’.
Hedworth said: 'He said ‘you f****d these guys why not me?' to which she responded ‘how many times does it take for a girl to say no before it sinks in,’ before attempting to flee the house.
The following day the woman messaged a friend saying she had been ‘raped by three Ulster f*****g rugby scum,’ but also said that she doubted a successful prosecution could take place as it was her word against theirs.
The prosecution claim the WhatsApp messages exchanged between the players the following day painted a true picture of the defendants’ attitudes to the incident the night before.
Olding wrote ‘We are all top sh*gg*rs,’ and ‘It was like a merry-go-round at a carnival,’
He also wrote: ‘There was a bit of spit roasting going on last night fellas,’ to which Jackson replied ‘There was a lot of spit,’
All four men deny the charges against them and are out on bail.