Belfast Telegraph

Paddy Jackson tells court he babysat Ireland captain Rory Best's children

Paddy Jackson has told how he has "learned a lot from Rory Best over the years" and even babysat the Ireland captain's children.

The Ireland international told the rape trial at the Laganside courts in Belfast that he is "very close" to national teammate Iain Henderson, who the court heard "presently plays for Ireland as well as representing the Lions on at least one tour if not two".

Asked about his other rugby friendships, he named Craig Gilroy and said he was socially close to Mr Best "from time to time".

He admitted he had babysat for Mr Best's children and had been invited to his son's sixth birthday party.

Mr Jackson told the court that he himself had been playing rugby since the age of six, when he began with mini rugby at Belfast Harlequins. At the age of 16, he was playing Under 18s with Ulster Rugby, as well as levels 18, 19 and 20s with Irish schools, captaining each of those sides, he said.

To relax outside rugby, Mr Jackson said he likes to spend time with family, friends and with the family dog, and to watch films, while drawing and sketching helps him to "relax", revealing that he "draws a lot of superheroes".

He also enjoys mime and to make rap music and likes to send friends "stupid videos", he said.

When he came to prominence as a rugby player, "people started to see it".

When it was put to him that he had "possibly over a million viewers" at one stage, Mr Jackson said it was "just a bit of a laugh and it got out of hand".

Asked if he had ever been violent towards another person, Mr Jackson replied that he had never been in a fight and had never so much as thrown a punch.

Belfast Telegraph

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