Olding admits to being drunk but ‘in control’ of his actions
If there was no consent, ‘nothing would have started and nothing would have continued’
Ireland and Ulster rugby player Stuart Olding: Olding denies he raped the young woman at the centre of this case. He insisted on Thursday that the sexual activity that took place between them was with her consent. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Eight cans of beer, “a few” pints of Guinness, two gin and tonics, five vodka and lemonades, “a few” shots, and a beer.
Stuart Olding started drinking that day in the late afternoon and had his final drink in the early hours of the following morning. He was, he admitted “pretty drunk”, but, he told the jury in Belfast’s Crown Court, “I was in complete control of my actions.”
He was asked to describe a video of himself and his friend Blane McIlroy which had been posted on WhatsApp during the party at Paddy Jackson’s house that night. “We had our trousers down with our boxers on and we were singing,” he said. “We both had the same knee surgery and we thought it would be funny to show the scars.”
A few people in the crammed public gallery laughed. The families and friends of the four defendants in the case have been joined in the gallery by a cohort of members of the public, some of whom now attend the court daily, complaining of the heat and the crowded lifts, or toiling up the four flights of stairs, giving each other daily updates on what they think the outcome of the case is going to be and how long it is going to last. You would think they were compelled to be there.
Judge Patricia Smyth had promised the jury on Wednesday that she would get the heating regulated, after a day of sweltering temperatures in the courtroom. It was better yesterday.
Olding denies he raped the young woman at the centre of this case. He insisted yesterday the sexual activity that took place between them was with her consent. If he had thought there was no consent, “nothing would have started and nothing would have continued”.
Invited to stay
He told the jury when he entered Paddy Jackson’s bedroom he saw his friend and the young woman on the bed, kissing. He was about to leave when, he said, she invited him to stay. She was looking at him, he said, and holding out her hand.
Crown counsel Toby Hedworth asked Olding to demonstrate the gesture. Olding extended his right arm, palm upwards. He said he then approached the bed and began to kiss her.
“You weren’t interested in what [she] wanted. She was just a vehicle for your sexual desires,” Hedworth stated. “No,” said Olding. “I wouldn’t put it that way.”
“You and Paddy Jackson are in his room with that young woman. You are both rugby players with skill and strength to overpower opposition,” said Hedworth. “What match is a 19-year-old woman going to be if she tries to resist?”
“If she had tried to resist in any way I would not have continued,” replied Olding.
Mr Hedworth repeated the question: “What match would she have been?”
“She wouldn’t have been a match,” said Olding.
Hedworth quoted from evidence given by the complainant about her account of those moments after he entered the room. “That young woman looked at you and said, ‘Oh no, please, not him as well.”
“I have no recollection of that happening,” said Olding. He confirmed what he had told the police, that the complainant had not said anything. “I suggest this is complete nonsense,” Hedworth said. “It’s not nonsense at all,” replied Olding.
Hedworth asked Olding where his hands were during the act of oral sex which followed.
He denied he used them to force the young woman’s head down onto his penis. He said at one point he touched the side of her face.
“Was that a tender moment?” asked Hedworth.
“It was just a moment,” replied Olding.
Hedworth commented Olding seemed to have been passive, that according to his account of the sexual acts which followed his decision to join Jackson and the young woman on the bed, she took the initiative. “She was actively performing, you were just lying there, her sex toy.”
“I wouldn’t put it that way,” said Olding.
Olding said the morning after the party, he, Paddy Jackson, Blane McIlroy and Rory Harrison had gone for lunch. He said Harrison had not revealed that he had received a text from the young woman in which she told him that what had happened was not consensual, and that Blane McIlroy had not told Harrison he should tell the others.
“They didn’t tell us anything about it. I am telling the complete truth,” Olding said.