Belfast Telegraph

Rugby star Stuart Olding: I told police truth in rape allegations quiz

The 24-year-old, who denies the charge, gave evidence at his trial in Belfast Crown Court.

Ulster and Irish rugby player Stuart Olding has insisted he told the truth when police questioned him about rape allegations.

The 24-year-old, who denies rape, was giving evidence at his high-profile trial in Belfast Crown Court.

Defence counsel Frank O’Donoghue QC asked: “You gave your account to police when you were arrested on June 30 [2016].

“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.”

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Paddy Jackson denies the charges at Belfast Crown Court (Niall Carson/PA)

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

“Yes, he is a very close friend,” Olding said.

Evidence was given about his education at Ben Madigan primary school and Belfast Royal Academy as well as 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.

Meanwhile, Olding was also quizzed about alcohol consumption.

He said: “I would consume alcohol in my time off.

“Usually, it is pretty confined to when I am off, that’s the chance we get to relax.”

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

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