Belfast Telegraph

'Ulster Rugby will vouch for them': Rape claim student reluctant to report Jackson and Olding, court hears

Woman took morning after pill following night at Ulster star's home

By Ashleigh McDonald

A woman who claimed she was raped by two international rugby players told friends she initially didn't want to report the attack as she wouldn't be believed.

The student, who was 19 at the time of the alleged sex attack, texted a friend and said: "I don't want to get the police involved. You know how it will turn out. It's my word against theirs. Ulster Rugby will vouch for their good characters and I will just look like a stupid little girl."

She was giving evidence for the second day at Belfast Crown Court, where four men are standing trial on charges arising from the alleged incident.

The woman said she was raped by both Paddy Jackson (26), from Oakleigh Park in Belfast, and his 24-year old teammate Stuart Olding, of Ardenlee Street in the city at an afterparty following a night out in Belfast.

Jackson has been charged with an additional count of sexually assaulting the woman in the bedroom of his south Belfast home in the early hours of Tuesday June 28, 2016.

Under cross-examination from Jackson's barrister, Brendan Kelly QC, the woman was asked about text conversations she had with three friends during the morning and afternoon of June 28.

She agreed with Mr Kelly that she initially did not want to report the matter to police, telling friends she didn't think she would be believed.

After being persuaded by friends, the woman attended the Brook Clinic in Belfast, where she was given the morning after pill and spoke to a counsellor.

She was then advised to go to the Rowan Centre - a sexual assault referral centre in Antrim, where she underwent a medical examination.

The jury has already heard that a woman who also attended the afterparty at Jackson's house walked into his bedroom. She subsequently said she saw three people having sex, and was invited but declined an offer by Jackson to join in.

When the complainant was asked by Mr Kelly why she didn't tell anyone that day about a witness to her sex attack, the woman replied: "When this girl walked into the room, the stage she walked in at, she had already missed the moment these men crossed the line.

"She had not witnessed the blatant disregard for the fact I did not want to have sex."

The court heard the woman reported the matter to police on Wednesday June 29. When pressed by Mr Kelly QC about why she didn't tell police about the female witness at that stage, the woman said she felt it was a "secondary issue" as this female hadn't touched or harmed her.

Saying she was not withholding information, the student said she was "very very distressed" in the aftermath of what happened to her.

In an hour-long video of her police interview which was played during today's proceedings, she told an officer: "There was absolutely no way I had any intention of having sex that night."

She told the policewoman the incident left her "humiliated", that during the sex attack she bled and that she was treated roughly and she "couldn't move". The woman also told police she was "reluctant to say anything ... I am so worried about what is going to happen to me after this" as those involved were "big names".

Both Jackson and Olding have denied the woman's claims and have said any sexual activity was consensual.

Also appearing on charges arising from the incident are Blane McIlroy (26), from Royal Lodge Road in Belfast, who has been charged with exposing his genitals, and Rory Harrison (25) from Manse Road. He has been charged with perverting the course of justice, and withholding information.

All four men have denied all the charges against them.

At hearing.

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