Wednesday 20 November 2019

Rugby rape trial: 23 drinks but Olding said he was 'still coherent'

Stuart Olding Photo: PA
Stuart Olding Photo: PA
Eimear Cotter

Eimear Cotter

Eight cans of beer, four pints, two gin and tonics, five vodka and lemonades, three shots and a bottle of beer.

That’s 23 drinks.

Stuart Olding agreed with his own lawyer that it sounded like a lot.

The 24-year-old, who celebrates his birthday on Sunday, accepted that when he left Ollie’s nightclub around 2.15am and headed to Paddy Jackson’s house for a party, he was “pretty drunk”.

However, he stressed he was “still coherent” and “knew my whereabouts”.

He started drinking around 4.30pm and consumed 23 drinks over the next 12 hours.

Mr Olding said he had eight cans while watching football in Blane McIlroy’s house before he and his friends moved to Cutter’s Wharf where he had four pints and two gin and tonics.

Mr Olding then headed to Ollie’s nightclub where he had five vodka and lemonades and two shots.

He also had a bottle of beer in Mr Jackson’s house.

Mr Olding also said he’d eaten some pizza and a burger and chips.

His mood was good, he said: “I was happy, enjoying myself, having a good time.”

Referring to the amount of alcohol Mr Olding consumed, prosecution counsel Toby Hedworth QC said to him that he’d had “a bit of a skinful”.

“Yes, over 12 hours and I had food,” said Mr Olding.

Mr Hedworth put it to Mr Olding: “If you had that amount of drink there’s a danger of disregarding the wishes or views of another person if they get in the way of what you want to achieve.”

Mr Olding replied: “I wouldn’t agree with that.”

Mr Hedworth said: “Like Paddy Jackson, you were not interested in what the young woman wanted to do or was prepared to do. She was just a vehicle for your own sexual desires that night.”

Mr Olding answered: “I wouldn’t put it that way.”

Mr Hedworth showed Mr Olding a photograph of him and Mr McIlroy which was taken at 3.42am. “You’re looking half cut,” Mr Hedworth said.

Mr Olding replied that he also looked tired and “very happy”.

The Ireland and Ulster centre had been eased into his evidence yesterday morning by his lawyer Frank O’Donoghue QC.

“I didn’t force her in any way,” he said. He stressed that nothing had happened in Mr Jackson’s bedroom that made him think the alleged victim had not consented to what had taken place.

Mr Olding expressed embarrassment about a series of texts he sent to a friend boasting about his sexual activity with the woman.

“I’m not proud,” he said, hanging his head in shame.

His cross-examination started before lunch and continued for most of the afternoon.

Mr Olding seemed less comfortable answering Mr Hedworth’s questions.

He cracked his knuckles, rolled his shoulders, swallowed a couple of times, took a drink of water and sat back in the chair.

He rejected that his story was “a work of fiction”.

Mr Hedworth put it to him that it was extraordinary that Mr Olding remembered “a tender moment” of touching the woman’s face but could not recall how they had moved from kissing to oral sex.

“It was just a moment I remember,” he said.

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