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Nicola Anderson: 'They'll all have the same fabricated story about me being some slut' - accuser

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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 players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding arriving at Belfast's Laganside courts.

‘THIS case concerns a young woman going to an after-party with young sportsmen,” said the counsel for the prosecution, cautioning the jury that “there is a danger that stereotypical views are taken of what such a complainant should expect”.

The implications contained in the barrister’s words were echoed by the young woman at the centre of these rape allegations in texts she sent to a close friend the morning after.

“They’ll all have the same fabricated story about me being some slut who was up for it,” she wrote, adding that “they have the backing of Ulster Rugby”.

“They’ll say it was consensual,” read a follow-up text. “I was up for it, stupid little girl now regretting it. You know the stance they’ll take.”

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Stuart Olding

Stuart Olding

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Stuart Olding

Capped 25 times for Ireland, fly-half Paddy Jackson is used to being centre stage. Centre stage for the moment, however, is a glass-walled dock in courtroom 12 at Belfast Crown Court, alongside fellow Ulster rugby player Stuart Olding, who has also represented Ireland.

Beside him is Blane McIlroy, a former Ulster rugby player who has represented Ireland at Under-20 level.

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Paddy Jackson. Photo: PA

Paddy Jackson. Photo: PA

Paddy Jackson. Photo: PA

At the end of the row sits Rory Harrison, who is a former University College Dublin player who has also played with Belfast Harlequins.

Given their sporting prowess, the public interest in this trial – which is expected to last five weeks – was always going to be keen.

All four young men have been hailed as heroes on the field on many occasions.

The pause button has been pressed on that for now, as the jury begins its task of unravelling these disturbing claims to find out what actually happened at Paddy Jackson’s house in south Belfast on the night of June 28, 2016.

All four defendants deny the charges against them, with Mr Jackson telling police he was “shocked and horrified” at the claims.

Toby Hederworth QC, for the prosecution, reminded the jury that this was the time that Northern Ireland had done so well in Euro 2016. Several Northern Ireland footballers were in the VIP section of Ollies nightclub in the Merchant hotel, alongside the rugby players, by the time the young woman and her friends arrived.

She was spotted on CCTV leaving the club after 2am and was outside when she met a group of women who were friends of a friend of hers, and who were going on to a house party with some of the rugby players.

The woman recalled going upstairs with Paddy Jackson to his bedroom and they consensually kissed. But she made it plain she would go no further.

Paddy Jackson later told police that while they were kissing “her tone changed” because he did not know her name and they went back downstairs.

The woman told police the atmosphere of the party had changed and she went to leave – but had to go back upstairs to get her bag.

However, she claims Mr Jackson came up behind and subsequently raped her.

Some time later, Mr Olding entered the room and raped her orally, she claims.

Mr McIlroy then entered the room “stark naked and holding his penis”.

However, the woman said she could not face a further attack, pulled on her trousers and left, getting a taxi home with Rory Harrison.

Texts between the young men the next morning reveal Mr Olding saying: “We are all top shaggers” and referring to “spit-roasting”.

The night was “like a merry-go-round at a carnival”, he said.

Mr Harrison messaged Mr McIlroy to advise him to leave his phone behind when he went to the police station for interview, says the prosecution.

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