Wednesday 23 May 2018

Stuart Olding tells rugby rape trial: 'If she'd resisted I wouldn't have carried on'

  • Ireland rugby star gives evidence of night of alleged rape
  • Olding said he and Blane McIlroy danced with their jeans down at house party
  • Says he walked in on Paddy Jackson and alleged victim kissing
  • "(The woman) turned around and held out her hand as an invitation to stay"
Ireland and Ulster rugby player Stuart Olding arrives at Belfast Crown Court on Thursday. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Ireland and Ulster rugby player Stuart Olding arrives at Belfast Crown Court on Thursday. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Eimear Cotter

IRELAND and Ulster centre Stuart Olding has denied it’s “complete nonsense” that a student who alleges he raped her “beckoned” him into a bedroom while she was kissing his teammate, Paddy Jackson.

Mr Olding (24) also rejected an assertion that he only saw the then 19-year-old woman as a “vehicle” for his own sexual desires.

“I wouldn’t say that. I wouldn’t agree. I wouldn’t put it that way”, he said.

The Ulster centre is alleged, alongside Paddy Jackson (26), to have raped a then 19-year-old student in a bedroom during a house party at Mr Jackson’s home after a night out in Belfast in June 2016.

Both men have denied the charge.

Mr Olding (24) said, during cross examination by Toby Hedworth QC, for the prosecution, that he was “in complete control of his actions”.

Ireland and Ulster rugby player Paddy Jackson arrives at Belfast Crown Court on Thursday. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Ireland and Ulster rugby player Paddy Jackson arrives at Belfast Crown Court on Thursday. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Mr Hedworth put it to Mr Olding he was not interested in what the alleged victim wanted to do or was prepared to do.

“I wouldn’t say that. I wouldn’t agree”.

Mr Olding accepted that a 19-year-old woman would not have been a match for two professional rugby players if she had decided to resist.

“If she’d resisted or not wanted it I’d have had no problem with that. I wouldn’t have carried on.”

He denied his story that the woman had beckoned him into the bedroom without saying a word was “complete nonsense”.

Mr Hedworth’s cross examination of Mr Olding resumes this afternoon.

Earlier, Mr Olding denied that he forced the woman to perform a sex act on him on his teammate’s Paddy Jackson’s bed.

He told his lawyer Frank O’Donoghue QC that nothing happened in Mr Jackson’s bedroom that made him think the alleged victim had not consented to what had taken place.

“If I thought that [she had not consented], nothing would have happened. Nothing would have started and nothing would have continued”, he said.

Asked by Mr O’Donoghue if he had forced the alleged victim to perform a sex act on him, either by what he did or said, Mr Olding replied: “I didn’t force her in any way”.

Mr Olding said that when he walked into Mr Jackson’s bedroom he saw Paddy and the woman “kissing on the bed”. Mr Jackson was on his back and the woman was on top of him.

He stood at the door and turned to leave.

He claimed the young woman turned around and held out her hand, as an invitation to stay.

“I did stay”, he told the jury.

The court heard that Mr Olding closed the door and walked to the far side of the bed, and started kissing the alleged victim, who was on the bed.

He said she was on her back, he was leaning over her and they were kissing “open mouths, with tongue”.

Mr Olding said he then lay down on the bed, and the woman was kneeling over him.

He said he wasn’t sure how his jeans became undone, but that “oral sex started happening”.

He said the act lasted “five or 10 minutes” and ended when he told the woman he was going to ejaculate.

Her hand was at the base of his penis at the time, he said.

The Ulster centre denied thrusting his hips during the sex act, and said his hands were by his side. “I touched the side of her face, maybe to move her hair back.”

He denied using his hands to pull the woman’s head towards his penis, or that he ordered her to take off her top, which she has claimed.

Asked by Mr O’Donoghue if he believed the woman had shown any reluctance to perform the sex act, Mr Olding replied: “Not at all”.

Mr O’Donoghue said the complainant told police that she was unsure if Mr Olding had had penetrative sex with her from behind. He denied this.

“I didn’t go near her bottom half at all”.

Mr Olding said he met Mr Harrison, Mr Jackson and Mr McIlroy for lunch later that day and “nothing was said to suggest the sex was not consensual”.

Asked by Mr O’Donoghue about a series of messages in a Whatsapp group sent later that day, which spoke of a “bit of a spit roast going on last night” and “top shaggers” and that it was “like a merry go round”, Mr Olding said the texts did not mean anything, that it was “nonsense”.

“I’m very embarrassed sitting here reading the messages. I’m certainly not proud about talking like that, but I did it, I have done it and I shouldn’t have done it.”

Mr Jackson (26), of Oakleigh Park, Belfast has pleaded not guilty to rape and sexual assault at a party in his house in the early hours of June 28, 2016.

Mr Olding (24), of Ardenlee Street, Belfast, denies one count of rape on the same occasion. Both men contend the activity was consensual.

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

The trial continues before Judge Patricia Smyth and a jury of eight men and three women.

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