Belfast Telegraph

Rape trial: Ireland player Olding 'not proud' of WhatsApp sex boasts

Ireland and Ulster rugby player Stuart Olding has told a court he is embarrassed and not proud of text exchanges in which he boasted of sexual activity.

The 24-year-old, who denies rape, was giving evidence on his own behalf at a high-profile trial in Belfast Crown Court.  He said: "I feel very embarrassed sitting here reading them.

"I am certainly not proud talking like that.

"But I did it, I have done it and I shouldn't have done it."

The court has previously heard about a series of exchanges with friends on the WhatsApp messaging service in which Olding had posted: "We are all top shaggers."

"It was immature boasting with my friends," he told the court.

Olding also referred to a "spit-roast", something he understood was a slang reference for a threesome or sexual activity involving a woman "in between" two men.

Explaining his WhatsApp comment in which he said: "It was like a merry-go-round at the carnival", he added: "It does not even mean anything. It was just said in an excited state. It is nonsense."

Olding was questioned for almost two hours by his defence counsel Frank O'Donoghue QC.

He gave graphic detail of the oral sex he says was "performed" by the complainant for about 10 minutes with two brief interruptions - once when co-accused Paddy Jackson went to look for a condom and when he "asked" the woman to remove her top.

"It finished with me telling her that I was going to ejaculate. She stopped, I ejaculated on to my stomach.

"One of her hands was round the base of my penis while she was performing oral sex."

Afterwards, Olding said he got up and went into a bathroom to "wipe the sperm off".

When asked if there was anything to suggest the complainant was not consenting to what was happening, he said: "No, not at all.

"If I had thought that, nothing would have happened, nothing would have started and nothing would have continued."

He had earlier been asked if he had forced the woman in any way.

Olding answered: "No, I did not force her in any way."

The rape trial being heard by Judge Patricia Smyth is now in its sixth week.

The court heard how Olding had initially gone upstairs to find somewhere to sleep.

The door to Jackson's room was closed but he opened it and walked in.

He said: "I saw Paddy on his back and (the alleged victim) on top of him and they were kissing at the time.

"I'm certain Paddy's top was off. I'm not sure about his trousers. (The woman) was fully clothed."

When asked what his reaction had been, he said: "I had just intruded in two people kissing on the bed. I turned to leave."

He added: "(The woman) turned around and held out her hand as an invitation to stay. I'm sure of that.

"I closed the door and went over to the bed and started to kiss (her)."

In earlier evidence, Olding insisted he had told police the truth about what happened when he was interviewed two days after the alleged attack.

Mr O'Donoghue said: "Do you stand by what you told the police?

"Is that the truth?"

Olding replied: "That is the truth."

The court also heard how Olding had returned from a South African rugby tour as part of the Ireland squad shortly before the alleged rape on June 28 2016.

He said: "Things had gone very well for me on the tour.

"I had managed to get two caps. I thought I was really going to progress from there.

"I was delighted. I was in a good place."

Evidence was given about his education at Ben Madigan Preparatory School and Belfast Royal Academy and his rugby career, which has been dogged by injury, with a number of surgeries to repair torn ligaments on his knee and elbow.

He has delayed completing a sport science degree at Ulster University because of rugby commitments, the court was told.

The jury of eight men and three women also heard that Olding and co-accused Jackson, who also denies rape, were close personal friends.

"Yes, he is a very close friend," Olding added.

Jackson, 26, from Oakleigh Park in Belfast, and Olding, 24, from Ardenlee Street in the city, deny raping the same woman in south Belfast on June 28 2016.

Blane McIlroy, 26, from Royal Lodge Road in Belfast, has pleaded not guilty to exposure while Rory Harrison, 25, from Manse Road in Belfast, has pleaded not guilty to perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

The case continues.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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