Belfast Telegraph

'I didn't go out to meet rugby players': Woman denies 'watering down' interest in sport at Jackson and Olding trial

A woman allegedly raped by two Irish international rugby stars has denied watering down her knowledge of the sport and its players.

Giving evidence at the trial of 26-year-old Paddy Jackson and his 24-year-old Ireland and Ulster team mate Stuart Olding, the woman insisted she had not been a rugby follower.

She also said that on the night she was allegedly attacked by the two players she had not gone into a nightclub VIP section specifically to meet players.

Belfast Crown Court heard that before she reported the alleged attack to police a friend advised her in a text message to pretend she did not know they were rugby players.

A defence lawyer for Jackson asked the woman: "Have you watered down your following of rugby or your knowledge of the people who played it?"

She responded: "Not at all. I have not watered down anything."

The woman was asked if on the night of the alleged attack she was aware that Ulster Rugby players were in the VIP area of Ollie's nightclub in Belfast before she went into it.

She responded: "We didn't go into the VIP area to meet rugby players, if that's what you are suggesting."

Earlier the court heard how the woman was concerned that photographs may have been taken of her during the alleged assault.

During a police interview, which was played for the jury, the woman told an officer that a female had walked into the bedroom when she was allegedly being assaulted by Jackson and Olding and that she did not know if she had taken photographs.

"I was mortified what was happening and I didn't want to be identified if she was taking photos," she said.

The high-profile case, scheduled for five weeks, is being heard by Judge Patricia Smyth.

Jackson, from Oakleigh Park in Belfast, and 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 an evening at 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.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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