Ireland rugby players boasted after alleged rape, trial told

Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding are accused of sexually assaulting a student (19)

Ireland rugby player Paddy Jackson arriving at Laganside Crown Court in Belfast. Photograph: Paul Faith/Getty Images

Ireland rugby player Paddy Jackson arriving at Laganside Crown Court in Belfast. Photograph: Paul Faith/Getty Images


Ireland and Ulster rugby players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding boasted about a sexual encounter with a Belfast student who subsequently made a complaint of rape, Laganside Crown Court heard on Tuesday.

Prosecuting lawyer Toby Hedworth QC, in outlining details of the case against Mr Jackson and Mr Olding and two other defendants, disclosed how in a series of texts Mr Olding described the alleged non-consensual sexual activity with the then 19-year-old woman as “like a merry-go-round at a carnival”.

“We are all top shaggers”, Mr Olding said in a text the morning after the alleged rapes, in June 2016, 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”.

Mr Hedworth, in a lengthy opening statement on the first day of the trial, outlined the details of the alleged rapes at the home of Mr Jackson off the Ravenhill Road in east Belfast on June 28th, 2016.

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. Blane McIlroy, (26) from Royal Lodge Road, Ballydollaghan, Belfast, is accused of one count of exposure. Rory Harrison, (25) from Manse Road, Belfast, is charged with perverting the course of justice and withholding information. They all deny the charges.

Not play again

Mr Jackson and Mr Olding contend the sex was consensual.

The Irish Rugby Football Union and Ulster Rugby have said that outhalf Mr Jackson, who has played 25 times for Ireland, and centre Mr Olding, who has four caps, will not play again until the trial is concluded.

It is expected to last five weeks. Mr Hedworth detailed how the alleged rapes happened when the complainant and three other women went to an early morning party at Mr Jackson’s home after they had been at a nightclub in Belfast city centre.

The complainant did not know the other women. It is alleged Mr Jackson had sex with the alleged victim in his bedroom.

“He had not in any way sought her consent and indeed had used force to achieve his aim,” said Mr Hedworth. He added she did “not suggest that she attempted to fight him off” but she described herself as “being numb throughout what happened as if she herself was not there”.

She further alleged that after Mr Olding entered the room he forced her to perform oral sex. Mr Hedworth also said that Mr McIlroy, a friend of the players, “was keen to have sexual activity” as well and that he “intentionally exposed himself” to the woman.

The complainant said 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.”