Graphic description of alleged rape by rugby players heard in court

Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding accused of engaging in non-consensual sex with 19-year-old student

Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding arriving in court in Belfast. The rugby players deny the charges against them. Photograph: PA

Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding arriving in court in Belfast. The rugby players deny the charges against them. Photograph: PA

 

Laganside Crown Court in Belfast has heard graphic description of how a 19-year-old student was allegedly raped by Ireland and Ulster rugby players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding.

The jury of nine men and three women were told on Tuesday that Mr Jackson and Mr Olding engaged in non-consensual sex with the now 21-year-old alleged victim at Mr Jackson’s home in south Belfast in June 2016.

Prosecuting lawyer Toby Hedworth, QC, also said that Blane McIlroy, a friend of the players, “was keen to have sexual activity” as well and that he “intentionally exposed himself” to the woman.

The court heard of Mr McIlroy allegedly sending a text to Jackson in the house asking was “there a possibility of a threesome”.

Mr Hedworth also said that as the complainant was leaving the room where the rapes allegedly occurred that a “stark naked” McIlroy, who had entered the room, “thrust his penis at her” but did not make contact.

The complainant said that Mr McIlroy said to her, “You f…ed those guys, why not me?”, to which she replied, “How many times does it take for a girl to say no before it sinks in.”

Ulster and Ireland rugby player Paddy Jackson arrives at court in Belfast on Monday. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images.
Ulster and Ireland rugby player Paddy Jackson arrives at court in Belfast on Monday. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images.

Said Mr Hedworth, “Effectively this group of friends were keen to have sexual activity with this young woman regardless of whether or not she was prepared to do.”

He added that when the woman “was able to escape from what was being done to her” that the fourth defendant Rory Harrison appeared to give her help and support” but that “his true loyalty was to his friends and what they had done”.

The court also heard of an exchange of WhatsApp messages between the accused which Mr Hedworth said gave a “true flavour of the attitude of the defendants”.

In one text Mr Olding said, “We are all top shaggers”, while in another he said, “There was a bit of spit roasting going on last night fellas”.

Mr Jackson replied “There was a lot of spit”, with Mr Olding responding, “It was like a merry-go-round at a carnival.”

Mr Hedworth said Mr Jackson who denies the allegations told police that the sexual activity was consensual. He said the complainant had consensual oral sex with him and also with Mr Olding. He said they did not have vaginal sex because “she asked if he had a condom and he did not”.

The four defendants appeared in the dock together. Mr Jackson (26) of Oakleigh Park, Belfast, is charged with one count of rape and one count of sexual assault.

Mr Olding (24) from Ardenlee Street, Belfast, is charged with one count of rape.

Mr McIlroy, (26) from Royal Lodge Road, Ballydollaghan, Belfast, is accused of one count of exposure.

Mr Harrison, (25) from Manse Road, Belfast, is charged with perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

All deny the charges against them.

Fly half Mr Jackson has been capped for Ireland 25 times while centre Mr Olding has played four times. The Irish Rugby Football Union and Ulster Rugby have said they will not play again until court proceedings conclude.

Mr Hedworth in his lengthy opening statement said that on the evening of Monday June 27th the alleged victim arranged to have pre-drinks at the home of a friend before going to Ollie’s nightclub at the Merchant Hotel in central Belfast.

They arrived in the city centre at about 10.30pm. They went to the VIP section of the club where it became clear that a small group of women whom she did not know, but were mutual friends of a close friend, were going back to a party with the rugby players.

She joined them although it was unclear who actually invited her. There were four men and four women in the group that travelled in two taxis. Mr Hedworth said that at one stage in Mr Jackson’s house the pair of them went to his bedroom where they engaged in consensual kissing. She made it “plain” to Mr Jackson that she “would go no further”.

Nothing untoward occurred then but subsequently she decided to leave the party because “the atmosphere had changed”. But she had to go back to Mr Jackson’s bedroom to retrieve her clutch bag.

According to the lawyer Mr Jackson followed her to his room “where he pushed her onto the bed before pulling her trousers and pants down” before penetrating her from behind.

“He had not in any way sought her consent and indeed had used force to achieve his aim,” said Mr Hedworth.

He added that she did “not suggest that she attempted to fight him off” but that she described herself as “being numb throughout what happened as if she herself was not there”.

She was then conscious of Mr Olding entering the room. She recalled saying to Mr Jackson, “Please, not him as well.”

Ulster and Ireland rugby player Stuart Olding arrives at court in Belfast on Monday. Paul Faith?AFP/Getty Images.
Ulster and Ireland rugby player Stuart Olding arrives at court in Belfast on Monday. Paul Faith: AFP/Getty Images.

Mr Hedworth said as Mr Jackson continued to have sex with her from behind Mr Olding forced her to perform oral sex on him. She said she was “choking and gagging”.

He said that at this stage one of the other women in the house looked into the room. The complainant said that Mr Jackson asked her did she want to “join in”.

When that woman left the complainant said that Mr Jackson penetrated her vagina digitally from behind “before trying to force his fist up her”

“This obviously caused her considerable pain,” said Mr Hedworth.

He added that Mr McIlroy entered the room naked and sought to have sex with her. The alleged victim said she could “not face the prospect of a further attack and quickly pulled her trousers on and picked up her pants and shoes and left the room”.

She left the house but realised she had left her mobile phone behind. She needed it to call a taxi. She ran back to the house and retrieved the phone from the then empty bedroom.