Belfast Telegraph

Jackson and Olding trial: Alleged rape victim denies lying to protect reputation

Bloodstained clothing which the complainant wore on the night shown to jury

by claire o'boyle

THE woman at the centre of the rape trial of two Ireland and Ulster rugby players has denied she lied about what happened to protect her reputation.

In her fifth day giving evidence, the student denied suggestions by the defence that she "ran with a lie" because she feared pictures of her engaging in group sex would be leaked on social media.

Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding are accused of raping the woman in June 2016.

Jackson is also accused of one count of sexual assault. Both deny the charges.

Jackson's barrister, Brendan Kelly QC, told Belfast Crown Court the woman, aged 19 at the time of the alleged attack, had lied because she feared "the rumour or the picture to support it would get out" after a second woman had walked into the room.

It has already emerged during the trial, now in its second week, that another woman at the party in Jackson's home in Oakleigh Park in Belfast had walked into the bedroom in the early hours of June 28.

When asked why she didn't call out to this person for help, the alleged victim had told the court she was "petrified" she was being filmed.

In his cross examination, Mr Kelly told the court the complainant had contacted one particular friend before another because she felt this friend was "likely to be one of the first that would come by the rumour or any film or photograph on social media".

The 21 year-old complainant denied this, saying: "That's an entirely twisted mindset and thought process you have laid out there. That is not what I was thinking or feeling at the time."

Mr Kelly said she "ran with a lie" she started with her friends because she was "petrified of the fallout from the night before".

She replied: "There were no lies told. The fact of the matter was, I was raped." Mr Kelly put it to the complainant it was in "an intoxicated and excited state... that night you engaged of your own choice in sexual activity".

She answered: "I completely reject that," adding: "Mr Kelly, I was raped. I don't think I can make myself more clear."

The alleged victim was also asked about a text she sent her friend telling her she had been raped, with three upside-down smiling emoji faces.

When she was asked about these emojis, she said it signified "mixed emotions". She added that "everything is going through your head - why did it happen to me, what did I do to deserve it".

The jury of nine men and three women was also shown clothes worn by the complainant on the night of the alleged attack, including her trousers, top and underwear.

Jackson's lawyer questioned the markings on her clothes, including bloodstains and marks made by fake tan. Mr Kelly examined the complainant's trousers, and questioned whether blood would have been visible from the outside. She said: "I was bleeding significantly and presumed it had soaked through."

The complainant earlier told the court she had not put her underwear back on after the alleged attack, that instead she had placed it in her pocket as she fled.

Mr Kelly yesterday asked why blood was visible in her underwear if this was the case. "Because I wiped myself," she said. "I was aware I was bleeding."

The court had previously heard the woman had no plans to have sex that night as she hadn't tanned her whole body.

The complainant yesterday insisted stains on her top did not indicate she had tanned her whole body - that in fact it was patchy and would look "ridiculous" without clothes on.

Two other men are charged in connection with the case. Blane McIlroy (26), of Royal Lodge Road, Belfast, is charged with exposure and Rory Harrison (25), Manse Road, Belfast has been charged with perverting the course of justice and withholding information. They both deny the charges.

Mr Kelly questioned the complainant about an exchange she is understood to have had with Mr Harrison after the alleged attack. In the aftermath, while in a distressed state and waiting for a taxi, the woman is said to have remarked that "this does not happen to a girl like me", the court heard.

"What doesn't happen to a girl like you?" asked Mr Kelly. "Rape, as far as we know, can happen to any girl."

The woman replied: "Yes, it can and it happened to me."

The lawyer added: "What might not happen to girls like you is that you are witnessed in group sexual activity?"

The complainant answered: "Mr Kelly, again I was raped. It was not consensual group activity at all." When he went on to ask if she felt "regret", the complainant said: "Why would I regret a situation I had absolutely no control over?"

Earlier, Judge Patricia Smyth told the jury to ignore "fireside lawyers" voicing opinions online about the trial. She said views aired had been "ill-informed" and told the jury to ignore all publicity around the case, to assess it on evidence "you see and hear in this courtroom and nothing else". The trial continues.

Belfast Telegraph

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