Belfast Telegraph

Sunday Life

Ulster rugby rape trial witness reacts to Love Island rumours


By John Toner

The key witness in the Ulster Rugby rape trial has quashed rumours she was about to appear on hit TV dating show Love Island.

Holywood woman Dara Florence (21) took the stand at the trial of ex-Ulster Rugby stars Stuart Olding and Paddy Jackson earlier this year, giving powerful testimony as the two high profile defendants were ultimately acquitted of rape.

Student Dara has recently denied rumours she was about to appear on the show which sees young singles couple up on the holiday island of Majorca.

After receiving a string of messages about whether or not she would be appearing on the show, Dara posted screenshots of them to her Instagram account with the caption: "Got asked this literally erray day (every day)? What? Can we nat (not)?"

Dara Florence uses her phone on her way to court during the lengthy trial

This year's Love Island is proving a smash hit with fans, with ITV more than doubling viewing figures from last year.

In 2017, the launch show was watched by 1.3 million viewers but this year's opening programme attracted 2.9 million viewers across the country.

Ms Florence, who has a social media following of over 12,000 people, has avoided the media spotlight since she gave evidence in the case. The 21-year-old testified during the trial that she walked in on the pair having a "threesome" with the complainant and told the court she had no reason to believe the act was not consensual.

She has reportedly turned down several big-money offers to sell her story about exactly what she saw at the house in south Belfast in June 2016.

An ITV spokesperson said: "No there are no current plans for her to enter the villa." Ex-Ulster players Paddy Jackson (26), from Oakleigh Park, Belfast, and Stuart Olding (25), of Ardenlee Street, Belfast, were found not guilty of raping the same woman with Jackson also being found not guilty of a separate charge of sexual assault.

Blane McIlroy (26), of Royal Lodge Road, Belfast, was found not guilty of exposure while Rory Harrison (25), of Manse Road, Belfast, was found not guilty of perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

Belfast Telegraph

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