Thursday 22 March 2018

Jackson pal's 'false stories falling apart at seams', trial told

Blane McIlroy denies exposure. Photo: PA
Blane McIlroy denies exposure. Photo: PA

A close friend of Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding has denied that he got his "lines" wrong in a false story that they concocted in the hours after a student accused the rugby players of rape.

Blane McIlroy (26), who is accused of exposing himself to the same student, also denied that his version of what happened was "preposterous".

Prosecution lawyer Toby Hedworth QC put to him that what he thought was meant to be his version was in actual fact Mr Olding's "false version of events".

Mr Hedworth asked: "Do you have any idea how preposterous your account of all this is?"

He also told him that this "put-up job" was "falling apart at the seams".

Mr McIlroy replied: "I went to the police and told them the truth."

Mr Hedworth accused him of making up "false stories".

"Has the penny not dropped? Even your own friends are suggesting you have the story wrong," he added.

Mr McIlroy replied: "No, I've told the truth from the word go."

In his evidence, Mr McIlroy told Belfast Crown Court that he walked into Mr Jackson's bedroom and saw him and the alleged victim lying naked on the bed.

He went to leave, but Mr Jackson said it was fine, so he went in and started talking to them.

He said: "Oh, what have you two been up to tonight?"

Mr McIlroy claimed that the woman "smiled" and he sat down on the bed beside her and they started kissing.

He said that the kissing was mutual.


He claims the woman's left hand went down the waistband of his boxers and into his trousers, and she then started masturbating him.

Mr McIlroy stood up and loosened his trousers and he claimed that the woman started performing a sex act on him.

He said he "made an assumption" that Mr Jackson was using his fingers in the woman's vagina.

Mr McIlroy said that at no stage did he see Mr Olding in the bedroom.

Led through his evidence by his lawyer Arthur Harvey QC, Mr McIlroy denied saying to the woman: "You f**ked those guys, why not me?"

Asked if he tried to block her exit from the bedroom, he replied: "No, I didn't."

Did he try and push his penis into her mouth?

"No, I didn't," he said.

He also denied that he stood at the entrance to the bedroom and masturbated.

He said the reason the sex act stopped was because she asked for a condom. He went downstairs and asked Rory Harrison, but he did not have any.

He went back upstairs, to the upstairs living area, and asked Mr Olding, but he was asleep on the sofa and did not respond.

Mr McIlroy said he went back to the bedroom. Mr Jackson was lying in bed and the young woman was at the foot of the bed getting dressed.

He told them he could not find a condom.

Mr McIlroy told the jury that the woman said: "It's fine, I should go, it's late, I don't usually have one-night stands."

She went downstairs and got a taxi with Mr Harrison.

He later got a text from Mr Harrison, saying the woman was in hysterics.

He did not take this seriously as: "I saw her leave and knew she was not in hysterics."

The men met later that day in Soul Food for breakfast, Belfast Crown Court heard.

"There is a suggestion that you, Paddy Jackson, Stuart Olding and Rory Harrison combined your accounts to concoct a lying account of what happened during the course of June 27 and 28, 2016," Mr Harvey said to him.

"No," replied Mr McIlroy.

In cross-examination, Mr Jackson's lawyer, Brendan Kelly QC, put it to Mr McIlroy that the fly-half denied he invited him into the room. He also said Mr Jackson denied involvement in any sexual activity when Mr McIlroy was in the room.

"That's how I recall it," said Mr McIlroy.


In his examination, Mr Hedworth put it to Mr McIlroy that he said to another woman at the party: "Let's go and have sex. It will be the best night of your life."

Mr McIlroy said it was "jokingly said".

The court heard that the woman refused, said she was leaving and ordered a taxi.

It was ordered at 4.26am and the meter started running at 4.28am. Mr McIlroy sent a text to Mr Jackson at 4.27am asking him: "Is there a possibility of a threesome?"

"You weren't getting it from the object of your affections so instead you tried to get it elsewhere," Mr Hedworth said.

"So you sent Paddy Jackson a text asking if there was a possibility of a threesome."

Mr McIlroy replied: "Yeah, I said is there a possibility".

Mr Jackson did not reply to the text.

"You wanted to go up and join him in having sex with the alleged victim," Mr Hedworth said.

Mr McIlroy said: "I was asking if this was a possibility."

He said he then went upstairs to go to bed. He walked into Mr Jackson's bedroom and saw him and the alleged victim lying naked on the bed.

"So you just sat down and joined in," Mr Hedworth said, asking him if he thought Mr Jackson was "going to thump" him.

"No," he said.

"You had just walked in on him and his partner for the night engaged in sexual activity," he put to him.

"She didn't seem to mind," Mr McIlroy responded.

Mr Hedworth suggested Mr McIlroy's account was "complete fantasy island".

"No, it's not," he replied.

The men met for lunch in Soul Food later that day.

Mr Hedworth put it to Mr McIlroy that the men "hatched" a plan to cover-up what had happened.

"You thought your job was to give this version of events", the lawyer said.

"But you gave Stuart Olding's false version of events".

"No, no, that's not what happened," Mr McIlroy said.

He said the men talked about many things at that meal, including a planned holiday and the rugby tour of South Africa.

He said there was no mention that the alleged victim was upset when she left the house.

Mr McIlroy also said he was "not proud" and "embarrassed" about text messages he sent later that day, specifically a message he posted alongside a picture of himself and three girls who attended the party, which he captioned "Love Belfast sluts".

Mr McIlroy said: "I was just being stupid. It was a foolish comment to make and they obviously weren't."

When asked what his reaction had been when he found out Mr Jackson and Mr Olding had been arrested, he said: "I was shocked. I knew they had been out the night before. I just wanted to make sure they had a solicitor or someone to advise them. I was just in shock."

Mr Jackson (26), of Oakleigh Park, Belfast, has pleaded not guilty to rape and sexual assault at a party at his house in the early hours of June 28, 2016.

Mr Olding (24), of Ardenlee Street, Belfast, denies one count of rape on the same occasion. Both men contend the activity was consensual.

Mr McIlroy (26), of Royal Lodge Road, Ballydollaghan, Belfast, has pleaded not guilty to one count of exposure, while Mr Harrison (25), from Manse Road, Belfast, has pleaded not guilty to perverting the course of justice and withholding information relating to the incident.

The trial continues.

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