Belfast Telegraph

Rugby rape trial: Blane McIlroy denies he 'concocted' story with friends

Accused insists sexual activity with alleged victim was consensual

By Cate McCurry

A close friend of Ulster rugby players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding has denied "concocting" a story between his friends while police investigated allegations they were involved in a rape.

Blane McIlroy told the trial at Belfast Crown Court that sexual activity between him and the alleged victim was consensual and instigated by her.

McIlroy (26), of Royal Lodge Road in Belfast, denies a charge of exposure.

Taking the stand for the first time during the trial, McIlroy said at no stage did he force himself on the then 19-year-old woman at a house party in June 2016.

He also denies claims he walked into Jackson's room naked and with his penis in his hand demanding the woman have sex with him as she attempted to leave the bedroom.

Jackson (26), of Oakleigh Park in Belfast and Olding (24), of Ardenlee Street in the city, both deny a charges of raping the same woman.

Jackson denies a further charge of sexual assault.

Their friend Rory Harrison (25), from Manse Road, has been charged with perverting the course of justice and withholding information - he denies both charges.

McIlroy agreed with his defence barrister Arthur Harvey QC that he provided an almost "unbroken account" of his recollection of the events surrounding the night in question.

The jury heard how McIlroy had returned home from America, where he had been attending university, a week before the alleged rape.

He told the court that he had been out in Ollie's nightclub in Belfast with close friends Olding, Harrison and Jackson.

After leaving the nightclub, he spoke to three young women who he invited back to Jackson's for a "few drinks".

Asked by his lawyer what the atmosphere at the party was like, McIlroy told the court: "There was music playing, it was good fun. People were dancing around and chatting together."

Mr Harvey asked if he recalled speaking to the complainant downstairs before the alleged attack.

He said: "No, not really. I don't recall talking to her."

McIlroy claimed that after 4am, he and Harrison were the only ones left in the living room.

One minute after a taxi arrived to pick up two girls from the party, McIlroy sent a text message to Jackson saying 'Is there any possibility of a threesome?'. However, he never replied.

Asked to recall his version of events, he told the court: "I went upstairs to see if there was somewhere to sleep, as I knew Rory was trying to get a taxi."

He claimed that when he opened the door to Jackson's room, he was fully clothed.

"I saw Paddy and (the complainant) lying on the bed naked," he said. "Then I said 'Oh sorry'. They said 'It's fine' and I went in. I talked to her (the victim) and I said 'Oh, what have you two been up to' and she just smiled."

He told the court that he sat on the bed beside the complainant talking to her before they started kissing.

Mr Harvey asked: "At any stage did she show any reluctance?"

"Eh, no."

He said the kiss was mutual and that he did not force himself on her.

He continued: "While we were lying on the bed her left hand went down the waistband and into my trousers."

He claimed that the complainant was groping his penis and masturbating him.

McIlroy continued: "I loosened my belt and zip and pulled my trousers down.

"She continued to masturbate me. I could not get the trousers fully down and then I stood up and took them off. That's when she began giving me oral sex when I was standing up."

In his police statement on June 30, two days after the incident, McIlroy claimed that Jackson was also engaging in a sexual act with the alleged victim while she performed oral sex; however, Jackson denied this.

When asked about his police statement, McIlroy said: "I made an assumption he was behind her using his fingers on her vagina."

He added that the oral sex lasted around five to 10 seconds and that the reason it had stopped was when she asked for condoms.

McIlroy claims that after an unsuccessful attempt to find any condoms, he returned to the bedroom where he found the alleged victim getting dressed.

He added: "I told her I couldn't find any and she said 'Oh, it's fine, I should go'."

He then told the court the alleged victim said to him: "I don't usually have one night stands."

Mr Harvey said: "There's an allegation that in Soul Food you, Patrick Jackson, Stuart Olding and Rory Harrison combined your accounts in order to concoct a lying account of what happened in the course of the evening and the morning of Monday, June 28.

McIlroy replied: "No."

The trial continues.

Belfast Telegraph

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph