Saturday 21 April 2018

I did not force myself on alleged rape victim, rugby players’ friend tells court

Blane McIlroy told Belfast Crown Court that the woman had smiled at him when he walked in on her and Paddy Jackson in bed together.

By Deborah McAleese, Press Association

A close friend of Ulster rugby players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding has denied forcing himself on a woman who claimed she was raped by the sport stars.

Blane McIlroy told Belfast Crown Court that the woman had smiled at him when he walked in on her and Jackson in bed together.

The 26 year-old, of Royal Lodge Road, Belfast, who is charged with one count of exposure, was giving evidence in his own defence at the high-profile trial on Friday.

He is on trial alongside Jackson and Olding who are both charged with raping the same woman following a night out in Belfast on June 28 2016.

He told the court that during a party in Jackson’s house he went upstairs and found his friend in bed with the alleged victim.

“I went up and opened the door of Mr Jackson’s room. I was fully clothed.

“I saw Paddy and (the woman) lying on the bed naked. I said ‘Oh sorry’ and then I went in,” McIlroy told the court.

He added: “I said ‘What have you two been up to tonight?’ and she smiled.

“I sat down on the bed beside (her). She turned towards me and me and her were talking and we started kissing.”

He was asked by his defence barrister Arthur Harvey QC if there had been any reluctance on the woman’s part.

He replied: “No”.

When asked if the kissing was mutual he replied “yes.”

Mr Harvey then asked him: “Did you force yourself on her?”

He replied: “Not at all.”

When asked if the woman had said “no” or “stop”, McIlroy replied: “Never. No.”

McIlroy said he then left the room to find a condom and when he came back the woman was at the foot of bed getting dressed and Jackson was lying in the bed.

“I said I couldn’t find a condom. She said ‘it’s fine. It’s late.’ She said ‘I don’t usually have one night stands’,” McIlroy said.

He claimed that the woman continued to get dressed and then she went downstairs and left in a taxi with co-accused Rory Harrison.

McIlroy said the alleged victim was not upset when she left the house.

When asked what his reaction had been when he found out Jackson and Olding had been arrested, he said: “I was shocked. I knew they had been out the night before. I just wanted to make sure they had a solicitor or someone to advise them. I was just in shock.”

McIlroy denied the charge against him.

Jackson, 26, from Oakleigh Park in Belfast, and Olding, 24, from Ardenlee Street in the city, deny raping the woman.

Another man, Rory Harrison, 25, of Manse Road, Belfast, is charged with perverting the course of justice and withholding information. He denies the charge.

Press Association

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