Belfast Telegraph

I saw a threesome in Paddy Jackson's room, woman tells rape trial

by cate mccurry

A woman who walked in on an alleged rape by two Ulster Rugby players thought she had seen a threesome, a court has heard.

Taking the witness stand at Belfast Crown Court, Dara Florence said she was at the house party with two friends after a night out in the city centre.

Giving evidence during the trial of rugby stars Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding, Ms Florence was questioned about what she saw during the time she walked in on the alleged sex assault.

The young woman, who said she did not know the alleged victim, had been partying with her friends at the home of Jackson during the early hours of June 28, 2016, after they had been invited back by him.

When asked about how she ended up walking into Jackson's bedroom, she explained that after deciding to leave the party she and her friend Clare Matthews went to look for a friend.

In a bid to locate her, the pair went upstairs and were shouting her name, the court heard.

Ms Florence told the court that she was halfway up the stairs when she heard "moaning noises".

Believing it was her missing friend, she opened the door to Jackson's bedroom.

When asked about the noise, Ms Florence said: "It wasn't distressed or anything like that.

"I didn't know if it was sexual."

After opening the door to the upstairs bedroom, prosecution barrister Toby Hedworth asked: "You opened the door? What was the result?"

"Seeing a threesome," she told the court. She said that she had opened the door for "less than a minute".

When asked to outline what she saw, she responded: "Paddy was sitting on his knees and (the alleged victim), her bum was up against him, having sex.

"Her head was down towards Stuart's (Olding) middle."

She told the court that Jackson was penetrating her with his penis and he was thrusting into her.

Ms Florence also told the court that she briefly saw the alleged victim's face, and then her hair as she turned her head away from her view.

Asked about Olding's position, the woman described how he appeared to have been propped up on pillows. "His legs were, like, spread out and her head was in the middle of them," Ms Florence said.

When asked was anything said by anyone, she replied: "Paddy asked: 'Do you want to join in?'

"I said no."

After closing the bedroom door she said she laughed and told her friend: "I have just seen a threesome."

The pair returned downstairs and organised a taxi home.

They left Jackson's house around 20 minutes later, while their other friend slept in an upstairs living room.

During further questioning by Brendan Kelly QC, who represents Jackson, she was asked about two statements she gave to police.

Reading from one of her police statements, Mr Kelly quoted Ms Florence as saying: "I would not say the female was distressed."

When asked by Mr Kelly if this remains her recollection she said: "One hundred per cent."

She further added in her police statement: "When I left the room I did not feel that I had just witnessed a rape."

Mr Kelly asked: "Is that still correct?"

"Yes," she replied.

The young woman continued: "I remember kind of laughing and telling Clare I had just walked in on a threesome."

She said she didn't have any cause for concern when she left the room. The witness was also asked about what exactly she saw happen in the bedroom.

Mr Kelly said: "You do not describe seeing his penis, because you did not see his penis, is that fair?"

She answered: "Yeah."

"Did you see (the complainant's) vagina?" asked Mr Kelly.

Ms Florence said: "I wasn't in that kind of direction."

She further stated: "I 100% saw sex, from the movement."

Mr Kelly also asked the witness if there were any signs the alleged victim was "frozen with fear" from what she could see.

"No," said Ms Florence.

The lawyer added: "From what you could see, and please listen to my question very carefully. Were there any signs of (the complainant) not consenting to what was going on?"

Ms Florence replied: "No."

Also giving evidence was Ms Matthews, who was asked about leaving their other friend, Emily Docherty, at Jackson's house.

When asked if they had "any concern" about leaving their friend in the house, she said: "No, we felt safe the whole time."

Asked if she feared for her friend's safety, she said: "No, definitely not."

Two others are charged in connection with the alleged offences. Blane McIlroy (26), from Royal Lodge Road, Ballydollaghan, Belfast, denies exposure, while Rory Harrison (25), from Manse Road in Belfast, denies perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

The case continues.

Belfast Telegraph

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph