Saturday 23 June 2018

Nicola Anderson at rugby players rape trial: 'I am so worried about what is going to happen to me after this,' accuser told police

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

Nicola Anderson

A young woman who has accused two rugby internationals of rape broke down in court as a video of her police interview was shown to the jury.

The hour long footage showed the first interview with the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) in which she appeared to be weeping and distressed as she gave an account of what she claimed happened two days before.

During cross examination today, the woman was asked why she had not told friends that another female had walked into the bedroom as the alleged attack was happening.

She said that “because the whole rape had been so traumatic that was what I had focused on.”

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

“The fact that someone had walked in was secondary,” she said.

The trial also heard how the woman told a friend via text: “No, I do not want to get the police involved. You know how that will turn out.

“It’s my word against theirs. Ulster Rugby will vouch for their good character and I’ll just look like a stupid little girl.”

The woman, who cannot be named in order to protect her identity was giving evidence for a second day at the trial of Ireland and Ulster rugby player Paddy Jackson (26) and his Ulster team mate Stuart Olding (24).

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 high profile case is being heard by Judge Patricia Smyth and is scheduled to run for five weeks.

Mr Jackson, from Oakleigh Park in Belfast, and Mr 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 alleged to have happened at an after-party following a night out in a Belfast nightclub on June 28, 2016.

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 jury of nine men and three women heard how the woman told her friends she felt there was “no point” in going to the police.

Brendan Kelly QC, representing Paddy Jackson cross-examined the young woman for the duration of the day.

Putting to her a text message she had sent to a friend in which she wrote: “I want to speak to somebody legally to see what my chances are”, he asked who she had spoken to.

“I spoke to the police,” she replied.

He also asked her why she had not initially told friends that there was a witness to the alleged rape, given that another young woman had opened the bedroom during the events she had outlined.

The young woman told him that she didn’t go through it a ‘blow by blow of what had actually happened.

“I told them I had been raped and how upset I was. They were trying to get me to go to the police,” she said.

She added that at whatever stage the girl had walked in, “she had already missed the moment those men crossed the line.”

“She had not witnessed their blatant disregard that I did not want to have sex,” she said.

Put to her that the girl had witnessed a sex act, she replied: “She witnessed me turning my head away from the door.”

Later, Mr Kelly put it to her that she had not told police about this witness but the young woman said she had immediately telephoned the police while in the car after her first interview to tell them that she had forgotten this detail.

The hour-long video showed an account given to Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) detectives on June 30, 2016, two days after the alleged incident.

It was played to the jury of nine men and three women at Belfast Crown Court on Thursday.

In the recording, the woman broke down a number of times as she recalled to officers how she was allegedly raped.

She said in the footage: “The position they put me in, I did not want to be in that position. I felt I had no choice and the fact that they were so rough. I was bleeding.”

The woman also highlighted her worries about the possible repercussions of reporting the incident.

“I am so worried about what is going to happen to me after this,” she said.

“It’s because they are big names here.”

The woman, who had drunk wine and vodka and had been socialising in the VIP section of a Belfast nightclub, said she had no intention of having sex that night, the court heard.

During the interview, the alleged victim was asked to outline in graphic detail what happened.

She said: “I know Paddy had sex with me, 100pc. But my face was down.

“Whether or not Stuart had sex with me, I just don’t know.”

“I was so numb,” she told police.

The trial continues.

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News