Belfast Telegraph

Olding and Jackson rape claim student - 'My heart sank ... I knew what was going to happen'

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

By Cate McCurry

A student allegedly raped by two Ulster rugby players broke down and wept yesterday as she described how she was pushed onto a bed and attacked at a house party.

The woman, who was 19 at the time, told Belfast Crown Court: "No one should have to go through what I went through."

Now 21, she alleges she was raped by Paddy Jackson (26) in the bedroom of his Oakleigh Park home in Belfast.

Breaking down on several occasions as she gave evidence from behind a screen at Belfast Crown Court, the woman said that when Jackson's teammate Stuart Olding (24), from Ardenlee Street, entered the bedroom, "my heart sank ... I knew what was going to happen".

She said she was raped at the same time by both men.

Two others, Blane McIlroy and Rory Harrison, face lesser charges arising from the alleged incident in the early hours of June 28, 2016. McIlroy (26), from Royal Lodge Road in Belfast, faces a charge of exposure, and Harrison (25), of Manse Road, is accused of perverting the course of justice.

All four men deny the charges.

Describing the events surrounding the alleged rape, the woman told the court in detail how she was set upon in a bedroom at Mr Jackson's house.

A curtain blocked her view of most of the court while the defendants and people in the public gallery watched her give evidence on a screen.

The woman was questioned by lead prosecution barrister Toby Hedworth QC about how her night out on June 27, 2016, began. She told the court that she had been out to a Belfast nightclub where she drank a number of vodkas with friends.

After leaving the nightclub she was invited back to a house party with three girls who were friends of a mutual friend.

The court heard that she travelled in the taxi with the three girls and Mr Jackson, but she didn't know they were going to the player's home.

She said she didn't follow rugby, had never been to an Ulster rugby match and had only met Mr Jackson once, months previous to the incident.

At the property in south Belfast, there were four men and four women, including the alleged victim. She explained that Olding and McIlroy were at the house but she didn't know their names. She went on to say that Harrison was the one man she had spoken to at the house.

The alleged victim said she thought her friends were coming back and she had also told one of them where she was.

"I was not drinking at the house, other people were," she said. "It was by no means a party."

Asked by Mr Hedworth how many times she had left "the ground floor" of the house, she said three times.

When questioned about the first time she went upstairs in the property, she said: "I don't have a clear recollection but I think it was the bedroom."

Mr Hedworth asked: "Were you alone?"

"No, Patrick Jackson was with me," she said.

When asked if anything happened between the pair, she said: "Yes, we kissed. It was completely consensual but it was instigated by Patrick Jackson."

She then claimed that Mr Jackson tried to undo her trousers but added: "I firmly told him I wasn't interested and I went back downstairs".

When asked if he attempted to take matters further, she replied: "No."

During her evidence, Mr Jackson, who was sitting in the dock beside the three other accused, was taking notes of what the alleged victim was telling the court.

While explaining why she returned to the bedroom a second time, she became emotional and wiped away tears. She added: "When I went back downstairs the mood had shifted. The attitude of the boys had shifted, in particular Blane McIlroy, who was pulling the girls on to his knees to take pictures. That's not what I had come back to the house for."

She said she had decided to go home and after putting her high-heeled shoes on she went to collect her clutch bag. However, she realised she had left it upstairs in the bedroom.

Collecting her bag, she recalled: "The image I have in my head is of Patrick Jackson standing at the foot of the bed. After already telling him that I didn't want to go further."

She then claimed Patrick Jackson "grabbed" her trousers by the waistband and undid them and pulled the trousers down to her knees.

"In that moment you think you are going to kick and scream and fight but it doesn't work that way. Look, you just freeze," she added. "I knew where this was going but it just happened so quickly.

"He pushed me down on the bed. Because I was wearing white trousers, they were quite tight so when he pulled then down, they caught on my knees. I couldn't actually move. It went so quickly and I was face down on the bed and he was having sex with me."

When asked by Mr Hedworth if Patrick Jackson said anything, she answered: "No. I tried to push his hand away when he started. Verbally, I had already told him I didn't want things going any further.

"There was nothing about me physically that was telling him to keep going. He knew I didn't want this to happen and he kept going." She said the next thing she remembers is the door to the bedroom opening and Olding walking into the room.

"My heart just sank, I knew what was going to happen," she said. "I looked at Patrick Jackson straight in the eyes and said 'please no, not him as well'.

"The next thing I knew my trousers were off and Patrick Jackson was behind me and Stuart Olding was forcing me to give him oral sex. Someone was pushing my head. I assume it was Stuart Olding, I'm not sure who exactly it was."

The student went on to explain that while she was being sexually assaulted, one of the girls who was at the party opened the bedroom door.

"I turned round as I was not sure who it was, I heard a female voice and I immediately turned my head away as I was so worried I was being filmed as they were all taking photos downstairs."

When the woman opened the door, she said "oh" before Patrick Jackson asked her if she wanted to stay, the court heard.

She added: "I can't remember her exact response, but it was a no."

She then went on to describe a further attack in which she was lying on her back on the bed.

"Patrick Jackson pushed my knees apart and tried to get his whole hand up me and he wouldn't stop and I was trying to bend over and grab his wrist to loosen his grip but the more I bent over the more it hurt and I knew I was bleeding. He just wouldn't stop."

She began to lose her composure and attempted to hold back tears as she explained to the jury of nine men and three women, how a "completely naked" McIlroy walked into the room with his penis in his hands.

She told the court "this was not going to happen again" and she managed to get off the bed and grab her clothes.

She said that McIlroy was blocking the exit and said to her as she tried to leave: "You f***** the other guys, why not f*** me."

"His whole stance was so aggressive. It was at that point my fight instinct kicked in. There was not a chance I was going to let it happen again."

She said upon leaving the room she told the three men: "How many times does a girl have to say no for it to sink in."

After leaving the house she said Rory Harrison came to her aid and offered to take her home in a taxi.

Saying she was a "complete mess" and was bleeding, the woman said Harrison comforted her and got her home.

Describing the taxi journey home, she said: "I was an absolute mess. I was crying.

"I was grateful he was there."

Mr Harrison asked for the alleged victim's number and he sent her a text telling her to "keep your chin up".

The case, which is scheduled to last five weeks, continues.

Belfast Telegraph

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