Belfast Telegraph

Stains found on alleged rape victim’s clothing had rugby player Olding’s DNA

Warning: These reports contain details which some readers might find upsetting

By Cate McCurry

Semen containing the DNA of Ulster and Ireland rugby player Stuart Olding was found on the clothes of a woman he is accused of raping, a court has heard.

Samples taken from the young woman's clothes she wore on the night of the alleged attack were examined by a senior forensic scientist.

Giving evidence in court, the Forensic Service officer confirmed that traces of Mr Olding's semen were found on the complainant's white jeans, underwear and black sequinned top.

Mr Olding (24) and his teammate Paddy Jackson (26) deny rape.

Jackson denies a further charge of sexual assault.

Two other men are also on trial on charges connected to the same alleged incident.

The jury of nine men and three women heard details of forensic evidence and was shown photographs of the clothing worn by the woman on June 28, 2016.

When asked about the condition of the woman's jeans, the scientist said they were "grubby and stained" and there was visible blood staining on both the inside and outside.

After carrying out tests on the clothing, the forensic scientist said that Mr Olding's semen was found on all three items, namely her white trousers, top and underwear.

The complainant's clothing was tested for blood, and while no blood was found on her top, it was found on her jeans and underwear and a grey and white duvet cover taken from Mr Jackson's bedroom.

When asked about the location of the blood stains, the forensic scientist said it was found on the upper right leg and waistband, while on the inside of the jeans it was found on the front left thigh, the right thigh, the front right pocket and the crotch area. All of the blood analysed was found to be that of the complainant.

The alleged victim's thong was also bloodstained which the witness concluded came from a "transfer pattern" and was not worn when the complainant was bleeding.

Belfast Crown Court also heard that semen was not found in both the external and internal swabs taken from the complainant.

Also giving evidence was a leading medical expert who has vast experience in rape and sexual assault cases. She raised concerns about blood and a laceration on the vaginal wall that was found 14 hours after the alleged attack.

Dr Janet Hall, who was giving evidence on behalf of the defence, said that she looked at the video of the examination of the complainant, who was aged 19 at the time, as well as notes provided by the doctor who carried out the examination at a sexual assault centre in Co Antrim. The examining doctor found a laceration measuring two to three centimetres which he claimed had been caused by blunt forced trauma.

Yesterday's defence witness said that although blood could be seen in the recordings, there was no indication of where the blood was coming from and "no mention of whether menstrual flow was observed".

Dr Hall said she has conducted these examinations "many times" and when asked by Mr Jackson's lawyer Brendan Kelly QC of the purpose of such recordings, she said it provided a visual confirmation of any findings.

"We all know that a picture tells the whole story more than any words. If you see it in front of you, you know what you are looking at."

Speaking about the video, the doctor added: "It did not show me the laceration and I was confused where the laceration was."

She told the court that it "was just a pool of blood" and there was no note to explain whether or not the blood was of menstrual flow.

"It didn't show me where the laceration was, just where the blood was," she added.

Mr Kelly asked Dr Hall after hearing the examining doctor's evidence, what comments would she make on the source of blood.

"From my perspective I didn't see the injury, I saw a pool of blood and I didn't see where it was coming from.

"I would have liked to have seen the injury and have the blood swabbed away so I could have identified the injury."

The doctor added that having thought of the previous doctor's evidence, "what struck me overnight" that any internal laceration that was still bleeding 14 hours later "gives me cause for concern".

Dr Hall later added: "It leaves a question in my mind, could it still be menstrual."

She was also asked by crown prosecution Toby Hedworth QC whether, through her research and experience, most victims of sexual assaults resist or do they "let it happen".

The witness told the court that "overwhelming evidence" shows they allow it to happen.

When discussing injuries in rape and sexual offences, the doctor said that tears to the vaginal wall are the "least common of injuries".

She said: "If this injury was caused by a penis which was used by excess force, then I would have expected outer structures to be injured.

"It's hard to believe an injury happened inside and not to the protecting structures outside."

Two other men are also charged in connection with the incident.

Blane McIlroy (26) is charged with exposure and Rory Harrison (25) is charged with perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

Both deny all charges.

The trial continues.

Belfast Telegraph

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