Tuesday 23 October 2018

Ulster Rugby rape trial witness Dara Florence addresses Love Island rumours

Dara Florence’s evidence was described by the defence as ‘extraordinary’. Photo:
Pacemaker
Dara Florence’s evidence was described by the defence as ‘extraordinary’. Photo: Pacemaker

John Toner

The key witness in the Ulster Rugby rape trial has quashed rumours she was about to appear on hit ITV dating show Love Island.

Dara Florence (21) from Holywood, Co Down, took the stand at the trial of ex-Ulster Rugby stars Stuart Olding and Paddy Jackson earlier this year.  They were ultimately acquitted of rape.

Student Dara recently denied rumours she was about to appear on the show which sees young singles couple up on the holiday island of Majorca.

After receiving a string of messages about whether or not she would be appearing on the show, Dara posted screenshots of them to her Instagram account with the caption: "Got asked this literally erray day (sic)? What? Can we nat (sic)?"

This year's Love Island is proving a smash hit with fans, with ITV more than doubling viewing figures from last year.  In 2017, the launch show was watched by 1.3 million viewers but this year's opening programme attracted 2.9 million viewers across the UK.  Ratings are also soaring in Ireland with an average of 121,000 tuning in to 3e this season, up almost 200 per cent on the first 25 episodes last year.

Ms Florence, who has a social media following of over 12,000 people, has avoided the media spotlight since she gave evidence in the case earlier this year.

An ITV spokesperson said: "No there are no current plans for her to enter the villa."

Ex-Ulster players Paddy Jackson (26), from Oakleigh Park, Belfast, and Stuart Olding (25), of Ardenlee Street, Belfast, were found not guilty of raping the same woman with Jackson also being found not guilty of a separate charge of sexual assault.

Blane McIlroy (26), of Royal Lodge Road, Belfast, was found not guilty of exposure while Rory Harrison (25), of Manse Road, Belfast, was found not guilty of perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

Belfast Telegraph

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