Belfast Telegraph

Olding, Jackson rape trial: Relief of alleged victim palpable as she finally leaves witness stand

By Nicola Anderson

As is customary following the cross-examination by the defence, the prosecution was permitted to ask a few questions for clarification purposes.

"You were asked if you saw any signs of her not consenting," Toby Hedworth QC asked the girl who had opened the bedroom door and seen what she described as "a threesome".

I saw a threesome in Paddy Jackson's room, woman tells rape trial Paddy Jackson's case is he did not have sex with accuser

"Were there any signs of her positively consenting?" he asked. "No," the witness replied.

Many small descriptive details of the night emerged from the evidence of the three girls who had been at the party at Paddy Jackson's Belfast house.

We heard they had danced to "a bit of Abba", they had snacked on chicken in the kitchen and that all, bar Dara Florence, the girl who had opened the bedroom door, had consumed alcohol to varying degrees. "It was all quite innocent fun," one girl said of the party.

The morning after it was all over, Paddy Jackson, Stuart Olding and another girl, who had stayed over because she was too drunk to go home, turned on the TV and watched Game Of Thrones on the L-shaped couch in the den adjoining Mr Jackson's bedroom.

But, also from their evidence, has emerged the real conflict at the heart of this trial.

Dara Florence was "100%" positive she had witnessed Jackson having penetrative sex with the alleged victim.

However, in his final questions to the alleged victim yesterday morning, Mr Hedworth asked if she knew what Jackson's case was. It emerged that she did not.

"He says that he never had sex with you that night," said Mr Hedworth. "And the height of what he did is digitally penetrate you while you were performing oral sex on Mr Olding."

"That is incorrect," said the young woman.

The prosecution barrister brought up the note she had written by her bedside after she had returned home and which she had earlier explained was to serve as a memory aid to help her with identification.

"Blond, short, imbecile, monkeyish," Mr Hedworth read out.

"That was my impression of Mr Olding," she told him.

He also went back to a text message she had sent a friend some months before in which she asked him if he was "going anywhere to watch the rugby".

The defence had highlighted this as proof of the young woman's interest in the sport.

However, as part of a greater chunk of texts read out by Mr Hedworth, a humorous exchange emerged in which the girl had spoken of her job doing Guinness promotions and joking that she had assumed she would have to dress up as a pint of Guinness "because the money was so good".

The young woman's relief after so many days of intense questioning was palpable on being told by the Judge Patricia Smyth that she was free to go.

Then came the procession of the three other young women there that night - close friends and all mirror images of one another, with long dark silky hair, their faces carefully made up.

The first described how she had been behind Dara Florence as she opened the bedroom door and to her, Dara had joked: "Oh my God, I've just seen a threesome."

The second girl frankly admitted she'd been "really tired and drunk" and had passed out on a couch upstairs that night.

The next morning, however, she put it to Jackson that he'd had a threesome. But he shook his head and said: "No, nothing happened."

It was Dara Florence's account which proved most pertinent, with her comment that she did not believe that she had witnessed a rape.

Mr Kelly asked her if she knew what the term "frozen in fear" meant, asking if she thought the alleged victim had appeared this way as she stood watching her on the bed.

"No," she replied.

Belfast Telegraph

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