Belfast Telegraph

Paddy Jackson denies 'concocting story' after alleged attack took place

By Ashleigh McDonald

Ireland and Ulster rugby player Paddy Jackson has told a jury how he would have "completely freaked out" had he known a woman left his house crying and upset.

The 26-year old took to the witness stand for the first time, where he denied forcing a young woman to have sex with him.

It also emerged that Jackson first became aware police were seeking him when the then head coach of Ulster Rugby, Les Kiss, called him when he was ordering pancakes for breakfast, two days after the alleged rape.

Jackson, from Oakleigh Park, is currently on trial at Belfast Crown Court, charged with raping and sexually assaulting a woman in his bedroom following a night out at Ollie's.

He said he was in a cafe with Olding two days after the alleged attack when the then Ulster Rugby head coach Les Kiss phoned him and the Ulster Rugby manager Bryn Cunningham phoned Olding and advised them to go to the police station.

"(Les Kiss) said 'Paddy, the police are here, you need to go to Musgrave Police Station. My heart sank. I didn't know what was going on. Stuart looked shocked as well.

"Les called me again. He said 'have you left yet?' I said 'do you have any idea what this is about? I'm freaking out.' He said 'I don't know. It sounds grave.

"I was in shock. I was just going through the motions to the station. On the way I had no idea as to why the police wanted to (speak to me)."

He added that at the time he thought the sexual activity with the woman "was good".

"Now I don't ever want to be involved in anything like this again," he added.

Denying he forced himself upon the woman, Jackson was asked by his barrister, Brendan Kelly QC, if he was "party to a violent attack" on the complainant, or if he had ever been violent to anyone else. Jackson replied: "No, no I haven't. I have never been in a fight. I am not an aggressive person."

He answered questions about his schooling and rugby career, and confirmed that in the days before the alleged sex attack, he had been on tour in South Africa with the Irish rugby squad.

He also confirmed he and his co-accused - Stuart Olding, Blane McIlroy and Rory Harrison - had been in Blane's house before going to Cutter's Wharf then Ollie's on the evening on June 27th.

When asked for his version of events after a group of people - including the complainant - arrived back at his house for an afterparty, Jackson said he noticed she was "looking at me." Jackson said there was laughing, dancing and drinks consumed, and that he noticed the woman's attention was fixed on him.

He said: "We were flirting with each other. If I had gone to the kitchen, on a couple of occasions she followed me. It seemed very innocent."

The jury has already heard Jackson and the woman were upstairs at one point, where consensual kissing took place. The woman claimed this came to an end when Jackson grabbed at the top of her trousers.

When questioned by Mr Kelly about this first kissing, Jackson said he was "100%" certain she followed him upstairs. Denying the woman's claims he lunged at her, Jackson said the kissing was passionate but stopped. When asked why, Jackson said: "She pulled away and asked me if I knew what her name was."

When asked what his response was, Jackson replied: "I didn't respond initially because it was a bit awkward to be honest." And when asked by Mr Kelly "did you know her name", Jackson said he didn't.

He said they both went back down to the party, that the flirting continued and at one stage the woman ran her fingernails down his arm.

Jackson was then asked about the 'second incident' in which she claimed she was raped from behind by him, whilst being forced to perform oral sex on Olding.

Jackson said: "I was in the kitchen then I went, upstairs again. I think she saw me going up and I thought she might follow me up again. If she did, we would probably continue where we left off."

Jackson said when the woman entered his bedroom "she came to me, she met me in the middle." He then claimed they starting kissing again. Mr Kelly asked his client "did you grab her at any stage" to which he replied "No I didn't."

Mr Kelly then asked "did you pull her from the doorway", with Jackson replying "no." And when asked by Mr Kelly "did you apply any force at all", Jackson answered "No, I wouldn't do that."

Jackson claimed the woman then performed oral sex on him, and when asked how he knew this was a consensual act, he said: "Well she was doing it. She was doing it to me. She was enjoying it." Jackson said as this was nearing an end, Stuart Olding walked into the bedroom.

When asked what happened at this point, Jackson said: "He walked in on us and it was a bit embarrassing. I kind of smiled at him and waved at him. It's a bit stupid but that's what happened. It was kind of like 'hi, look what's happening.'"

Jackson said the woman turned her attention to Olding, and while she was performing oral sex on Olding, he moved down the bed and began "touching her with my hands."

Jackson denied using his penis, and said this was because he couldn't find any condoms. And when asked about the woman who walked in on the act and who described him having intercourse with the woman, Jackson said: "She is wrong. She is mistaken."

The complainant has made the case she fled from Jackson's house, in a state of distress, having just been raped.

Mr Kelly asked Jackson what he would have done if he had seen such a sight. Jackson replied: "The last thing I want is a girl crying and leaving my house. I would have completely freaked out. I would have done to help her.

"If I had know she was upset, I would have tried to contact her." When asked why, Jackson replied: "For the the fear of this. I would have been aware ... stuff like this happens. I had no idea she was upset."

Under cross-examination, Jackson denied "concocting a story" with his co-accused after the alleged attack in case an allegation of rape was made.

"No, that did not happen," he said.

Prosecution barrister Toby Hedworth QC asked Jackson: "You ended up back at your house with four attractive young women. Did you have any expectation of what the night would have in store with these attractive young women?"

Jackson responded: "No I didn't."

Referring to group WhatsApp messages between Jackson and some friends after the alleged attack Mr Hedworth said: "There had been an anticipation that this was going to be a frisky night."

Jackson denied playing games with the alleged victim when he said he went upstairs and thought she might follow him, the court heard.

The prosecution said to him: "You thought you would play these interesting cat and mouse games?"

Jackson responded: "I wasn't playing a game."

He was asked: "That young woman went upstairs and you followed her didn't you?"

Jackson replied: "No"

He was then asked: "Did you think this time 'I'm not going to take no for an answer?'."

He replied: "No I didn't."

Jackson denied penetrating his alleged victim with his penis.

"The reality is you penetrated (her) with your penis," the prosecution said.

"No I didn't," he replied.

"From behind," the prosecution said.

"No," responded Jackson.

He was asked: "You resisted that temptation not to put your penis inside her?"

"Yes," he replied.

"Not withstanding you had drink taken, you were showing complete restraint?" the prosecution asked.

"Yes", he said.

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