Thursday 21 June 2018

Alleged victim denies she made up rape to protect her reputation

ON TRIAL: From left to right, Ireland and Ulster player Paddy Jackson, 26, his team-mate Stuart Olding, 24, and third defendant Blane McIlroy, 26, arrive at Belfast Crown Court last week
ON TRIAL: From left to right, Ireland and Ulster player Paddy Jackson, 26, his team-mate Stuart Olding, 24, and third defendant Blane McIlroy, 26, arrive at Belfast Crown Court last week

Claire O'Boyle

The woman who has accused two Irish rugby players of rape has denied she lied about what happened to protect her reputation.

In her fifth day giving evidence, the student rebuffed suggestions by the defence that she "ran with a lie" because she feared pictures of her engaging in group sex would be leaked on social media.

Ulster Rugby players Paddy Jackson (26) and Stuart Olding (24) are accused of raping the woman at Mr Jackson's Belfast home on June 28, 2016. Mr Jackson is also accused of one count of sexual assault. Both deny the charges.

Mr Jackson's barrister, Brendan Kelly QC, told Belfast Crown Court the woman, aged 19 at the time of the alleged attack, had lied because she feared "the rumour or the picture to support it would get out", after a second woman had walked into the room.

It has already emerged during the trial, now in its second week, that another woman at the party at Jackson's home had walked into the bedroom in the early hours of June 28.

When asked why she didn't call out to this person for help, the alleged victim had told the court she was "petrified" she was being filmed.

Blaine McIlroy
Blaine McIlroy

In his cross-examination, Mr Kelly told the court the complainant had contacted one particular friend before another because she felt this friend was "likely to be one of the first that would come by the rumour or any film or photograph on social media".

The 21-year-old woman denied this, saying: "That's an entirely twisted mindset and thought process you have laid out there.

"That is not what I was thinking or feeling at the time."

Fallout

Mr Kelly said she "ran with a lie" she started with her friends because she was "petrified of the fallout from the night before".

She replied: "There were no lies told. The fact of the matter was, I was raped."

Mr Kelly put it to the woman it was in "an intoxicated and excited state... you that night engaged of your own choice in sexual activity".

She answered: "I completely reject that," adding: "Mr Kelly, I was raped. I don't think I can make myself more clear."

The alleged victim was also asked about a text she sent her friend telling her she had been raped, with three upside-down smiling emoji faces.

When she was asked about these emojis, she said it signified "mixed emotions".

She added that "everything is going through your head - why did it happen to me, what did I do to deserve it".

The jury of nine men and three women was also shown clothes worn by the complainant on the night of the alleged attack, including her trousers, top and underwear.

Mr Jackson's lawyer questioned the markings on her clothes, including bloodstains and marks made by fake tan.

Mr Kelly examined the complainant's trousers, and questioned whether blood would have been visible from the outside.

She said: "I was bleeding significantly and presumed it had soaked through."

In cross-examination by Mr Olding's barrister Frank O'Donoghue, the woman said she was forced to perform oral sex on Mr Olding as she was being raped by Mr Jackson.

The alleged victim was asked why she didn't ask Mr Olding for help when he walked into the bedroom by saying "help me I'm being raped and I'm going to be raped again". She responded: "It was quite clear what Mr Olding's intention was as well. So much so that I turned to Patrick Jackson and said, 'please not him as well'.

"This man was not going to help me. He was also going to rape me."

Two other men are charged in connection with the case.

Blane McIlroy (26), of Royal Lodge Road, Belfast, is charged with exposure and Rory Harrison (25), of Manse Road, Belfast, has been charged with perverting the course of justice and withholding information. They both deny the charges.

Irish Independent

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