Harrison told police alleged rape victim couldn’t stop staring at Jackson

Detective tells Belfast Court Harrison said he had “no real conversation” with student

Rory Harrison told police he didn’t notice anything peculiar about the complainant’s appearance, demeanour or clothing after the alleged rape at the home of Paddy Jackson. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

The woman who was allegedly raped by Ireland and Ulster rugby players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding couldn't stop staring at Mr Jackson during the evening, one of the men's co-accused told police.

The then 19-year-old Belfast student alleges she was raped by the players at a house-party after they had attended a nightclub in Belfast city centre.

Mr Jackson (26), of Oakleigh Park, Belfast has pleaded not guilty to rape and sexual assault in the early hours of June 28th, 2016 at a party in his house. Mr Olding (24), of Ardenlee Street, Belfast, denies one count of rape on the same occasion. Both men contend the activity was consensual.

Blane McIlroy (26), of Royal Lodge Road, Ballydollaghan, Belfast, has pleaded not guilty to one count of exposure, while Rory Harrison (25), from Manse Road, Belfast, pleaded not guilty to perverting the course of justice and withholding information relating to the incident.


On Friday morning, Laganside Crown Court heard Mr Harrison, who is accused of perverting the course of justice and withholding, was initially interviewed by police as a witness two days after the alleged rape.

He had been named as a witness by the complainant the previous day.

A detective constable with the PSNI’s Rape Crime Unit told the trial he attended a police briefing on the incident on June 30th, 2016 and was directed to visit Mr Harrison and take a statement about the night in question.

The officer went to Mr Harrison’s house at about 3pm and told him he was there to speak about an assault which had happened earlier in the week.

The detective told prosecuting barrister Rosemary Walsh he did not disclose the name of the complainant or the location of the alleged attack to Mr Harrison.

Mr Harrison told the officer he had gone to Cutters Wharf bar with Mr Jackson, Mr Olding and Mr McIlroy on the 27th to have a few drinks and watch England play in the European Championships.

Ollie’s nightclub

They decided to go on to the The Dirty Onion pub but it was closed so they went to Ollie’s nightclub instead.

They did not have to pay to get into Ollie’s, Mr Harrison said. Inside he got talking to a woman, Dara Florence, who later accompanied them back to Mr Jackson’s house. Some other women were asking to take pictures with Mr Jackson and Mr Olding, he said.

He told the officer it was assumed they would all go back to Mr Jackson’s house after Ollie’s closed because he was the only one who had his own place.

There were “four or five females” with them when they arrived back at the house. Mr Harrison played music on his phone and some people were drinking, he said.

“[The complainant] seemed to be staring and fixated with Paddy,” he said, adding she could not “take her eyes off” his friend.

He said at one point Mr Jackson went up to his bedroom alone. Shortly after the complainant left the living room and went upstairs, he said. He said he didn’t know where she was going.

Mr Harrison said Mr Olding then left the living room with another woman. Then Mr McIlroy left, “I assume to go to bed.”

Sometime later the rest of the party guests got a taxi home, leaving him on his own. He said he decided to leave as well so he went upstairs “to say bye to the guys”.

The alleged victim was standing at Mr Jackson’s bedroom door, he said. He went in to Mr Jackson’s room and said goodbye. Mr Jackson was half-asleep and replied he would see him later, Mr Harrison said.

He went into another room where he saw Mr Olding asleep on a couch. A woman was asleep on the other side of the couch.


Mr Harrison said he went downstairs, ordered a taxi and waited. The complainant came in shortly afterwards alone. He said she was quiet and very upset. He asked her if she was okay but she did not respond, he told the officer.

He offered to drop her home and she agreed. There was “no real conversation”, the woman “just kept crying to herself”, Mr Harrison said. He said she appeared to be “unsettled”.

He didn’t notice anything peculiar about her appearance, demeanour or clothing, Mr Harrison said.

He walked her to her door, gave her a hug and she went inside her house.

Mr Harrison told police the next day he met up with the three men in a restaurant on the Ormeau Road where they discussed the South African rugby tour Mr Jackson had just returned from. There was no discussion about the previous night he said.

The trial continued on Friday afternoon before Judge Patricia Smyth and a jury.

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher is Crime and Security Correspondent of The Irish Times