Northern Ireland news

Rugby rape trial: Blane McIlroy says the woman displayed 'no sign' of 'distress or discomfort'

Blane McIlroy arriving at court for a previous hearing

Warning: graphic content withiin this article.

A man accused of exposing himself to a woman allegedly raped by two Irish international rugby players told police she had performed oral sex on him for 10 seconds, a court has heard.

Blane McIlroy was arrested and interviewed under caution by detectives from the PSNI's rape crime unit on June 30, 2016 - two days after the alleged attack.

An audio recording of his interviews has been played to the jury at Belfast Crown Court.

He told officers he walked into a bedroom and found Paddy Jackson and the woman lying on the bed, naked.

"Paddy says 'come in for a chat'," McIlroy said.

"I sat on the edge of the bed beside her and asked 'what have you been up to'?

"She seemed fine. No sign to me that she was in any sort of distress or discomfort."

It is the first time jurors have heard McIlroy's account of what allegedly happened on the night in his own words.

He said the woman did not attempt to cover herself with bed sheets when he entered the bedroom.

"I kissed her eventually," he added. "She may have put her hand on my waistband. I took my belt off and pulled my trousers down."

Jackson was still "fooling" about, McIlroy stated.

"She seemed fine... Eventually, after a minute or so she gave me oral sex for 10 seconds.

"I think Paddy was going to have sex with her again. She said 'wow you need condoms'."

At that point, the court was told McIlroy left the room to find a condom.

When he returned two or three minutes later, the complainant was getting changed.

He told police she was saying "This is not like me. I usually don't have one night stands. This is not like me."

But he added: "She seems fine, not crying or upset about it."

 Rory Harrison (left) and Blane McIlroy at a previous hearing

The rape is alleged to have happened at a house party in Paddy Jackson's south Belfast home during the early hours of June 28 2016.

McIlroy told police he had invited Paddy Jackson, Stuart Olding and Rory Harrison to his home to watch football the previous evening.

They consumed beer and ate pizza and chicken wings before going to another bar to watch another football match where they drank Guinness and a gin and tonic.

Afterwards the men made their way to Ollies nightclub in Belfast city centre where they partied in the VIP area with a few more rounds of drinks, including some shots, the court heard.

At one point, after a tequila, McIlroy vomited in the VIP toilets.

The court also heard how McIlroy was a regular visitor to Jackson's home, staying two or three times a week, and usually sharing his "big" bed.

The trial also heard audio recordings of police interviews with Stuart Olding, who denied having intercourse with the complainant.

He also told detectives that he did not see Jackson allegedly raping the woman from behind. 

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

Jackson was "sitting on the bed" watching the woman "give" him oral sex, according to Olding who also rejected allegations he had forced the complainant to perform the sex act by putting pressure on the back of her head.

When asked by police what made him believe she was consenting, Olding answered: "She was doing it. I wasn't forcing her."

Earlier in the taped police interviews, Olding was asked if there had been any discussion the morning after the alleged attack between himself and Jackson about what went on in the bedroom.

He said: "Yes. We just talked about what happened. We were pretty hungover. We were drunk whenever it was happening."

At the end of the interviews, Olding's solicitor Joe Rice said: "You can take it from his attitude that he categorically denies any involvement in these allegations."

Paddy Jackson (26) of Oakleigh Park in Belfast and Stuart Olding (240 of Ardenlee Street in the city, deny raping the same woman.

Jackson denies a further count of sexual assault.

Blane McIroy (26) of Royal Lodge Road, Ballydollaghan, Belfast, denies one count of exposure.

Rory Harrison (25) of Manse Road, denies perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

The jury panel in the high-profile trial has been reduced from 12 to 11 because of illness.

Judge Patricia Smyth said she had discharged one man after receiving a medical report, leaving eight men and three women to hear the evidence.

The judge said: "I have received a medical report in respect of the person in your group who was ill and, as a result of the content, I have spoken with him and discharged him from any further involvement in the trial."

The trial continues.


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