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Friday 23 February 2018

'i just wanted it to be over', says rape accuser

Ireland and Ulster rugby player Paddy Jackson (centre) arrives at Laganside courts in Belfast. Photo: Getty Images
Ireland and Ulster rugby player Paddy Jackson (centre) arrives at Laganside courts in Belfast. Photo: Getty Images

A woman who claims she was raped by Ireland rugby stars Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding told police she had tried hard to pretend she was not being attacked.

The woman wept as she described to an officer how she had been sexually abused by the men after a night out in a Belfast nightclub.

She insisted she had no knowledge of rugby or football when quizzed in court about a night out in the presence of members of the Ulster Rugby and Northern Ireland football squads just hours before the alleged attack.

Celebrities

The jury was shown CCTV footage of the woman and her friend in the VIP section of Ollie's nightclub on June 28, 2016.

The video showed her in the company of some members of the Northern Ireland football team who were in the VIP area, where Mr Jackson, Mr Olding and other members of Ulster Rugby were also partying.

She was seen briefly placing her hand on the knee of Northern Ireland striker Kyle Lafferty and momentarily holding on to the arm of Will Grigg.

After the footage was played to Belfast Crown Court, a defence lawyer asked the woman: "Were you attracted at the time to celebrities?"

Ireland and Ulster player Stuart Olding arrives at court in Belfast. Photo: Getty Images
Ireland and Ulster player Stuart Olding arrives at court in Belfast. Photo: Getty Images

She responded: "No, I didn't know who those people were."

The lawyer then said: "You knew who Paddy Jackson was."

She replied: "I knew his name and what he looked like."

Earlier, the woman insisted that she had not gone into the club's VIP section specifically to meet players.

A second police interview with the woman was played to the jury yesterday.

She watched the interview from behind a screen in the courtroom.

During the interview she told police that she felt "mortified" while she was being raped.

"I was trying so hard, pretending it wasn't happening. Like I wasn't there," she said.

"The whole situation, I just wanted it to be over and done with. I just wanted out of there and didn't want to see anyone."

The woman said that outside the nightclub, she got into a taxi with some other women to go to an after-party.

She said Mr Jackson then got into the taxi, which took them to his house.

The woman said she had only met Mr Jackson once before, when she was working in promotions in a bar and she brought him a drink.

She described going back to his house after the club for a party and dancing to Arctic Monkeys with Ulster Rugby's Rory Harrison.

"I was talking to Rory and I said, 'I really like this song'. I started to dance. He said I was a bad dancer and I said he was a bad dancer. I mentioned I wasn't a bad dancer because I had done dance since I was three," she said.

"I was talking to Rory quite a bit but it was useless chat. Just general chat."

The woman told the police officer that she could not remember how she ended up in the bedroom with Mr Jackson.

Annoying

"It's annoying me but I'm really not sure how that happened," she said.

The woman also said that she did not have a conversation with Mr Olding at the house party.

"I didn't speak to Stuart. There was no conversation there. I bumped into him in the kitchen and just said hello," she said.

Under cross-examination, a lawyer for Mr Jackson asked the woman if she had been intoxicated in the nightclub before going to the after-party.

"I would say I was drunk. Yes," she replied.

When she said she could not remember parts of her night out in the club, the lawyer asked her: "Do you typically forget things when you have been drinking?"

She said: "I don't remember every single moment of a night out. Clubs are busy places.

"You don't remember blow-by-blow exactly what you did.

"When you go for a night out you are not expecting to be in court detailing every second of it."

Mr Jackson, from Oakleigh Park in Belfast, and Mr Olding, from Ardenlee Street, Belfast, deny raping the woman.

Mr Jackson denies a further charge of sexual assault.

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