Belfast Telegraph

Jackson and Olding rape trial: Witness told her friend: I’m so sorry, I’ll never leave you again

By Nicola Anderson

"What was the last you heard of your friend?" the young woman in the witness box was asked.

She explained that she had been at Belfast City Hall waiting for a taxi after the nightclub when she received a text.

"She'd gone to an afters at Paddy Jackson's and I sent a text, 'Oh, random...'" shrugged the woman in the box.

That had been the end of her own night out, she told the court.

Unable to be named because of the risk of identifying the victim, the witness gave her evidence with the same uncertain, youthful informality as the rest of her peers who have been called to give evidence at this trial. Her friend had sent her a text after the alleged attack: "Worst night ever so I got raped."

Yesterday the court heard the replies and follow-ups between the two close friends, whom Brendan Kelly QC for Paddy Jackson later ascertained had first met as schoolgirls at the age of around 12.

Rereading the texts again, the woman in the witness box sniffed and her voice momentarily shook.

"So obviously I was in shock," she told prosecution barrister Toby Hedworth, on receiving that first message from her friend.

Her reply read: "Oh my God... I'm so sorry... I should not have left you. I'll never leave you again."

But then the alleged victim had also blamed herself, saying: "Of course it was my fault."

She had then reassured her, saying: "This is in no way, shape or form your fault." Her friend had then given her a brief account of what she claims had happened.

"Some of them just couldn't take no for an answer," she had said, with her friend replying; "Oh God... I feel sick."

"Paddy Jackson came behind me, he'd already tried it on earlier and I'd firmly told him where to go," the alleged victim said.

"The next thing I know I'm bent over the bed... I have bruising on my inner thighs... and I feel like I've got bruising literally on my f****. They were so rough I've got my period a week earlier," she said.

"I said 'Jesus Christ'," the young woman in the witness box told the court, by now struggling to hold back her emotions.

"And I said 'Jesus F****** Christ, were there more than one? She said, 'there were two and a third tried to get involved'."

"I said 'Oh God... I'm so sorry."

Belfast Telegraph

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