Sunday 20 January 2019

Nicola Anderson: Clothes worn by Olding on night of alleged rape never recovered, court hears

Ulster and Ireland rugby player Stuart Olding arrives at Laganside Magistrates court Picture: Pacemaker
Ulster and Ireland rugby player Stuart Olding arrives at Laganside Magistrates court Picture: Pacemaker
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

AFTER being arrested, Stuart Olding had told the police what he was wearing that night. This outfit had entailed a navy shirt, black jeans, black “boxer underwear” and brown shoes.

The detective told the court that he could not remember this specifically.

However, while Mr Olding’s home had been searched during the time he was being interviewed and other items of clothing retrieved, the outfit he had worn on the night was not retrieved, Frank O’Donoghue QC ascertained.

The court did not hear the reason behind this and no suggestions were proffered.

It was a day dense with detail, much of it technical, with some of the medical evidence later in the afternoon making for uncomfortable listening.

Back in the witness box in the morning was the PSNI detective who had been giving evidence last Friday and who cannot be named because of custom and practice in the North.

This time, he was cross-examined by the counsel on behalf of Stuart Olding.

The former Irish international had been arrested at the police station within an hour of the complainant’s statement, two days after the alleged rape.

He had gone there voluntarily, Mr O’Donoghue pointed out.

“You’re part of a team carrying out an investigation into two high-profile people and you’re assigned the task of interviewing Mr Olding,” Mr O’Donoghue put it to him.

“Correct,” said the detective.

“And he was interviewed very extensively,” the lawyer continued.

“Correct,” the detective again agreed.

“By you and another officer,” said Mr O’Donoghue.

Mr Olding had been “fully co-operative” during this interview, which had been conducted between 6pm and 8pm on June 30, 2016, said the lawyer.

“He was,” said the detective.

“The jury will have opportunity to listen to tapes of these interviews in due course,” Mr O’Donoghue told the court.

“And it’s fair to say he asserted a number of very important facts relevant to the issue of oral sex,” he added.

“Correct,” said the detective.

It was at this point that we heard the bones of what Mr Olding put forward to detectives in his first interview, adding yet another conflicting version of events to the evidence so far.

He told police the alleged victim had performed oral sex on him and that the act went on for five minutes.

Mr Olding insisted it had been consensual and she had taken her own top off, Mr O’Donoghue said.

He claimed that the young woman had asked him and Paddy Jackson to “go and get condoms”.

Mr Olding told police he had ejaculated on his own stomach and then wiped himself with toilet roll in an adjoining bathroom.

He claimed he went to sleep in the next room on a couch beside another girl, Emily Docherty.

“You recall that?” Mr O’Donoghue inquired of the detective.

“He was clear to you about what happened?

“And he reasserted those facts when you put her case to him?”

The detective agreed.

Mr Olding had claimed he had never had penetrative sex “and he was quite clear about that”, said Mr O’Donoghue.

“That was a mass of material that was now available to police ...

“A pretty clear account from Mr Olding,” he said, continuing that from a “policing point of view” there had been “a number of facts stated”.

Toby Hedworth, QC for the prosecution, rose to his feet.

“I don’t think these are questions,” he reminded Judge Patricia Smyth.

Paddy Jackson (26) from Oakleigh Park in Belfast, and his Ireland and Ulster teammate Olding, 24, from Ardenlee Street also 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.

Blane McIlroy (26) from Royal Lodge Road, Ballydollaghan, Belfast, denies exposure and Rory Harrison (25) from Manse Road, Belfast, denies perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

The case continues.

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