Northern Ireland news

Rugby rape trial: Woman who opened bedroom door said she 'walked in on a threesome'

Stuart Olding (left) and Paddy Jackson at court today. Pictures by Hugh Russell

A young woman who attended an afterparty at rugby player Paddy Jackson's home said today she "walked in on a threesome."

The woman went back to Jackson's Oakleigh Park home in south Belfast in the early hours of Tuesday June 28 2016 with two friends.

Also attending the afterparty was Jackson's teammate Stuart Olding (24) and friends Rory Harrison (25) and Blane McIlroy (26), as well as the woman who claimed she was raped in Jackson's bedroom.

Giving evidence at Belfast Crown Court, the witness was asked what she saw when she opened the door.

Explaining that she and her friend were ready to leave the party at around 4am, and were trying to locate their other friend, the witness said she heard "moaning" coming from a bedroom, thought her friend was in the room, and so opened the door.

From the witness box, she told the court she closed the door, turned to her friend and said "I have just seen a threesome".

The woman was asked about a statement she gave to police in September 2016 about what she had seen. Revealing the door was open for less than a minute, she told police 'I would not say that the female was distressed.'

When asked by Brendan Kelly QC, the barrister representing, "I presume that remains your recollection", she replied "100%".

Confirming to Mr Kelly that she saw no signs of the woman in distress, and that she didn't think she had just witnessed a rape, the woman said: "I remember kind of laughing and telling (my friend) I had just walked in on a threesome."

And when asked by Mr Kelly "did you have any concern when you left the room?", she answered "no."

She was also asked by Jackson's barrister if she understood the term 'frozen in fear', to which she replied "you can't move because you are so scared." 

Mr Kelly then asked if she felt the woman was "frozen in fear when you stood watching her on the bed?" She again said "no." 

Also giving evidence were two of her friends who also attended the afterparty.

One who stayed overnight told Jackson the next morning that her friend had walked in on a threesome, to which Jackson shook his head and said it didn't happen.

After having too much to drink and feeling tired, the woman stayed in an upstairs room in Jackson's home while her two friends left in a taxi around 4.25am.

The woman had gone back to Jackson's home in south Belfast with two friends.

After having too much to drink, the woman stayed in an upstairs room in Jackson's home while her two friends left in a taxi around 4.25am. She said she woke up on a sofa the next morning with Stuart Olding lying beside her, and after retrieving her phone, she called one of her friends who had also been at the party.

When asked about the conversation she had with her friend that morning, the woman said her friend told her she had walked into a bedroom and saw people having sex.

Giving evidence at Belfast Crown Court, the woman said her friend said she walked in on a threesome and that she closed the door. She also said her friend told her this in a "jokey manner."

She said she told Jackson that morning about what her friend told her about a threesome. And when asked how Jackson reacted, she said: "He just shook his head and just said 'no, that didn't happen.'

"I thought he knew what I was talking about, but because he shook his head, I didn't pursue it any further."

She said that after vomiting at the party, she went to bed. She also confirmed that nothing physical occurred between herself and Olding, as she didn't know he was lying beside her until she woke up at around 9am.

When asked about the party she attended, she described it as "all quite innocent fun." Telling the court she had never met the woman who also attended the party and who claimed she was raped that night by Jackson and Olding, she described her as "quite nice ... quiet."

Also giving evidence earlier in the day was another young woman who attended the party with her two friends. This witness said she went upstairs with a third woman to look for their friend so they could all go home.

She said that as she and her friend were walking up the stairs to look for their other friend "we could hear some type of noises coming from a room." She said her friend opened the door then closed it again after a few seconds.

When asked what her friend saw in the bedroom, the witness said "she said in a joking way 'Oh my God, I have just seen a threesome.'" When asked to elaborate, she said her friend told her it involved Jackson, Olding and the woman at the centre of the claims. The witness added: "She (her friend) said Paddy had joked about joining in."

When she was asked by Jackson's barrister, Brendan Kelly QC, that when they went back down the stairs "did you have any concern as to what was going on in that bedroom?", the woman replied "no."

She was also asked about leaving her friend in the house overnight. She said that after looking for their friend, the two women went back downstairs and called a taxi.

She was asked if they had "any concern" about leaving their friend in the house, to which she replied: "No, we felt safe the whole time". And when asked if she "feared" for her friend's safety, she said "no, definately not."

Earlier the court heard the last of the evidence from the complainant in this high-profile trial.

The jury was told that Paddy Jackson denied ever having sexual intercourse with the woman who has accused him of rape.

Addressing the complainant, prosecution barrister Toby Hedworth QC said it was Mr Jackson's case that he had engaged in sexual activity with the woman but had never had sexual intercourse with her.

She replied: "That's incorrect."

The woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was being re-examined by the prosecution as her evidence drew to a close.

She was in the witness box at Belfast Crown Court for an eighth separate day.

When asked if she believed Jackson had sexual intercourse with her on more than one occasion, the woman replied: "It was more than one occasion because he had already had sex with me before Mr Olding entered the room."

Meanwhile, the woman also rejected suggestions that Jackson's Ulster team mate Stuart Olding, who also denies rape, walked in while she was "straddling" Jackson and that she "instigated" sexual activity with him.

"That's completely incorrect," said the woman, adding that her trousers were at her knees making it "impossible" to straddle anyone.

"I didn't instigate anything with Mr Olding," she said.

Meanwhile, the court also heard that in a note written when she got home after the alleged attack, the complainant described Olding as an imbecile and monkeyish.

The note recorded the names Blane, Paddy Jackson and the description blonde, short, imbecile and monkeyish, the court heard.

Mr Hedworth asked: "What does imbecile and monkeyish refer to?"

The woman answered: "That was my impression of Mr Olding."

Paddy Jackson denies raping the woman in June 2016. He also denies a further charge of sexual assault.

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

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

Blane McIlroy (26) from Royal Lodge Road, Ballydollaghan, Belfast, denies exposure. Rory Harrison (25) from Manse Road in Belfast, also denies perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

The case continues.

Blane McIlroy, who denies a charge of exposure, arrives at Belfast Crown Court. Picture by Pacemaker

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