Belfast Telegraph

Jackson, Olding rape trial: I saw alleged victim 'fully naked' in bed with Paddy, says pal Blane McIlroy

WARNING: These reports contain details which some readers might find upsetting

Blane McIlroy
Blane McIlroy
Paddy Jackson
Stuart Olding

By Claire O'Boyle

A friend of two Ulster rugby players accused of rape told police he found the alleged victim "fully naked" in bed with Paddy Jackson, a court has heard.

Blane McIlroy, who denies one charge of exposure, also told officers the complainant had put her hands down his trousers, performed oral sex on him for 10 seconds and had tried to kiss him before following Jackson up the stairs to his room, Belfast Crown Court heard.

Ireland player Jackson (26), denies rape and one charge of sexual assault. His teammate Stuart Olding (24), also denies rape. A fourth man, 25-year-old Rory Harrison, denies perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

Earlier, the jury heard a recording of a police interview with Olding, who said he had not forced the woman to perform oral sex on him.

Hearing McIlroy's account of events at the centre of the case for the first time, the court heard how he had walked into Jackson's bedroom hoping to go to sleep but found his friend naked in bed with the complainant.

When asked if either appeared to be embarrassed, McIlroy told police: "No. She didn't try to cover herself up or anything." He later described her as "giddy".

McIlroy told detectives Jackson had told him to "come in for a chat", adding that the woman "seemed fine" and that he saw no sign of "any sort of distress or discomfort".

The court heard McIlroy told police he and the woman had kissed before she put her hand "fully" down his trousers and "grabbed" his penis.

He said: "She was masturbating me and then eventually after a minute or so she gave me oral sex for about 10 seconds. Then Paddy was still fooling around with her and I think he was going to have sex with her again."

It was then, McIlroy told detectives, that sexual activity stopped. "She said, 'Woah, you're not even wearing a condom'. So I said I'd go and find one," he told police.

McIlroy told the officers by this time his trousers and pants were down and he went downstairs naked to ask Harrison for a condom before checking in another room upstairs to see if Olding had one. He then returned to Jackson's room without one.

It was at this point, the court heard, he saw the complainant getting dressed to leave.

"I said, 'what's wrong, where are you going?'" McIlroy told police. "She was saying 'I don't usually do this, I need to get a taxi. I don't usually have one night stands.'"

When asked how he felt about this, McIlroy answered: "I thought she just had regrets." He added: "She seemed fine. She wasn't upset. She said, 'Oh my God, this isn't like me' but she wasn't upset or crying about it."

The jury also heard how McIlroy told officers the complainant had tried to kiss him earlier in the evening, but that he had not been interested because he was talking to another woman at the party in Jackson's south Belfast home.

In the course of his interview, McIlroy said he had felt "shocked" when Harrison called to tell him Jackson and Olding had been taken in for questioning. When asked if Harrison told him what they were being questioned about, McIlory said: "He said 'a girl from Monday night might have cried rape' is what he said." McIlroy told officers, "She never once said 'stop' or 'I don't want to do this'." He also said: "She didn't push us away."

Earlier, the court listened as McIlroy explained how Jackson, Olding and Harrison had come to his home to watch football on June 27, 2016. They had each drunk around six beers and eaten pizza and chicken wings before going to a south Belfast bar for more football and drinks.

After that they went to Ollie's nightclub in Belfast city centre where they partied in the VIP area with more drinks, including shots. McIlroy vomited in the VIP toilets after a shot of tequila, the court heard.

The jury was also told that McIlroy was a regular visitor to Jackson's home, staying two or three times a week, and usually sharing his "big" bed.

Audio recordings of police interviews with Olding, who denied having intercourse with the complainant, were also played.

Olding said: "I didn't penetrate her vagina with my penis at any point" and he told detectives he did not see Jackson penetrate the woman.

"I didn't see Paddy penetrating her from behind. He was behind her but I didn't see him penetrating her."

Jackson was "sitting on the bed" watching the woman "give" him oral sex, according to Olding, who also rejected allegations he had forced her to perform oral sex by putting pressure on the back of her head and pulling her on to his penis.

When asked by police what made him believe she was consenting, Olding answered: "She was doing it. I wasn't forcing her."

Earlier in the taped police interviews, Olding was asked if there had been any discussion the morning after the alleged attack between himself and Jackson about what went on in the bedroom.

He said: "Yes. We just talked about what happened.

"We were pretty hungover. We were drunk whenever it was happening."

At the end of the interviews, Olding's solicitor said: "You can take it from his attitude that he categorically denies any involvement in these allegations."

The trial continues.

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