Friday 20 April 2018

'It was like I wasn't there' - court hears police tape of alleged rugby rape victim

During the interview she told police that she felt "mortified" while she was being raped

Ireland and Ulster rugby player Paddy Jackson (centre) arrives at Laganside courts in Belfast. Photo: Getty Images
Ireland and Ulster rugby player Paddy Jackson (centre) arrives at Laganside courts in Belfast. Photo: Getty Images

Deborah McAleese

A WOMAN who claims she was raped by Ireland rugby players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding told police she had tried hard to pretend she was not being attacked.

The woman wept as she described to an officer how she had been sexually abused by the men after a night out in a Belfast nightclub.

A second police interview with the woman was played to the jury at Belfast Crown Court on Friday. She watched the interview from behind a screen in the courtroom.

During the interview she told police that she felt "mortified" while she was being raped.

She added: "I was trying so hard, pretending it wasn't happening. Like I wasn't there.

"The whole situation, I just wanted it to be over and done with. I just wanted out of there and didn't want to see anyone."

Ireland and Ulster rugby player Stuart Olding arrives at Belfast Crown Court where he and his teammate Paddy Jackson are on trial accused of raping a woman at a property in south Belfast in June 2016. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Ireland and Ulster rugby player Stuart Olding arrives at Belfast Crown Court where he and his teammate Paddy Jackson are on trial accused of raping a woman at a property in south Belfast in June 2016. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

The woman said that outside the nightclub she got into a taxi with some other women to go to an after-party.

Read more: Woman allegedly raped by rugby players tells court she did not go into VIP area of club 'to meet players'

She said Jackson then got into the taxi, which took them to his house.

The woman said she had only met Jackson once before when she was working in promotions in a bar and she brought him a drink.

She described going back to his house after the club for a party and dancing to Arctic Monkeys with Rory Harrison.

"I was talking to Rory and I said, 'I really like this song'. I started to dance. He said I was a bad dancer and I said he was a bad dancer. I mentioned I wasn't (a bad dancer) because I had done dance since I was three.

"I was talking to Rory quite a bit but it was useless chat. Just general chat," she said.

The woman told the police officer that she could not remember how she ended up in the bedroom with Jackson.

"It's annoying me but I'm really not sure how that happened," she said.

She also said that she did not have a conversation with Olding at the house party.

"I didn't speak to Stuart. There was no conversation there. I bumped into him in the kitchen and just said hello," she said.

Under cross-examination a lawyer for Jackson asked the woman if she had been intoxicated in the nightclub before going to the after-party.

"I would say I was drunk. Yes," she replied.

When she said she could not remember parts of her night out in the club, the lawyer asked her: "Do you typically forget things when you have been drinking?"

She responded: "I don't remember every single moment of a night out. Clubs are busy places.

"You don't remember blow-by-blow exactly what you did.

"When you go for a night out you are not expecting to be in court detailing every second of it."

The high-profile case, scheduled for five weeks, is being heard by Judge Patricia Smyth.

Jackson, from Oakleigh Park in Belfast, and Olding, from Ardenlee Street in the city, deny raping the same woman at a house in south Belfast in June 2016.

Jackson denies a further charge of sexual assault.

Two other men have also been returned for trial on charges connected with the same incident.

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

The case has been adjourned to Monday.

Press Association

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