Tuesday 22 January 2019

Jackson was followed to bedroom by 'fixated' woman, rape trial told

Ireland and Ulster rugby player Paddy Jackson arrives at Belfast Crown Court. Photo: Michael Cooper/PA
Ireland and Ulster rugby player Paddy Jackson arrives at Belfast Crown Court. Photo: Michael Cooper/PA

A woman who accused Irish rugby international Paddy Jackson of rape was "fixated" with him, his friend said.

The alleged victim was staring at him and followed five minutes after he disappeared to his bedroom after a Belfast house party, a statement from Rory Harrison said.

Jackson (26), from Oakleigh Park in Belfast, denies raping the woman in June 2016.

He also denies a further charge of sexual assault.

Mr Harrison's statement said the alleged victim "appeared to be staring at and fixated with Paddy".

He said she "did not appear to take her eyes off Paddy".


His statement to a Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) detective was read out during a trial at Belfast Crown Court.

Stuart Olding (24), from Ardenlee Street in Belfast, also denies raping the same woman on the night in question.

Two others have been charged in connection with the same alleged incident.

Blane McIlroy (26), from Royal Lodge Road, Ballydollaghan, Belfast, denies exposure.

Mr Harrison (25), from Manse Road in Belfast, denies perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

Mr Harrison's statement said he did not notice anything out of the ordinary about the alleged victim. He told police he saw the woman standing outside a bedroom at Jackson's house in Belfast but was not sure what she was wearing.

They had been having a party downstairs and Mr Harrison said she had disappeared upstairs five minutes after Mr Jackson went up.

Mr Harrison's statement said he went upstairs to say goodbye to Mr Jackson and Mr Olding and saw the alleged victim standing outside a bedroom.

Mr Harrison told police: "I did not notice anything out of the ordinary."

He said Mr Jackson was lying on his bed half awake and said he would see him later.

He said Mr Olding was with a female, both were asleep and lying on a sofa fully clothed.

Mr Harrison was in the living room when the alleged victim came in.

He took her home in a taxi, they sat in the back seat and there was no real conversation.

His statement said: "She kept crying into herself and appeared to be unsettled."

He said he did not notice anything peculiar about her appearance.

"I gave her a hug and got back into the taxi. I then went to bed."

He said he, McIlroy, Olding and Jackson met up the following day at the Soul Food eatery in Belfast but just talked about the South Africa rugby tour which Jackson had recently returned from, rather than what happened the previous night.

Previous hearings of the court case have been told alleged details of WhatsApp messenger conversations about the night in question.


Yesterday, the court was also told that a detective who was involved in the investigation was not made aware at an initial briefing that a woman, Dara Florence, walked into the bedroom when the alleged rape happened.

Earlier hearings have been told she thought a threesome was taking place.

Another detective said he was asked to quiz Ms Florence for a second time after she alleged she heard noises, characterised by a barrister as moaning.

The trial continues.

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