Northern Ireland news

Blane McIlroy admitted being prone to exaggeration

 Blane McIlroy arriving at court this morning. Picture by Hugh Russell
Lesley-Anne McKeown, Press Association

At the time of the alleged attack in June 2016, Blane McIlroy had just returned from America.

He had been studying at Life University in Atlanta and had just entered his third year.

He was on scholarship and had just one semester, 12 weeks, left before his business administration course was complete.

But the 26-year-old has been unable to complete his studies, the court heard.

McIlroy said he had a very close relationship with his parents and after Jackson and Olding's arrest told his parents everything that happened that night.

Read More

Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding found not guilty of rape
Allison Morris: There were even giggles in the public gallery as graphic details of alleged rape were read out (Premium)
Alleged victim's name was posted on comments section of an online news site
Relatives clasped each others' hands and openly wept as verdicts delivered
Victims' support group calls for review into how trials are conducted
Allison Morris: I have two daughters and would not encourage them to go through retraumatising rape trial (Premium)
One of the most expensive rape trials in UK judicial history
'I Believe Her' rallies planned across Ireland
Ireland rugby captain Rory Best's decision to attend court on day two of the rape trial provoked a storm of criticism
About the rugby rape trial judge Patricia Smyth
PSNI says woman at centre of trial 'upset and disappointed' at verdict
Paddy Jackson's lawyers say status as famous sportsman 'drove the decision to prosecute'
Paddy Jackson's lawyers call for crackdown on 'vile' social media commentary during criminal proceedings
Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding 'will continue to be relieved of all duties' as review takes place
Stuart Olding faces major battle to return to pinnacle of his sport
Paddy Jackson had unwavering support from his parents
Stuart Olding: I deeply regret events of that evening... I am sorry for the hurt caused to the complainant
Not guilty Blane McIlroy admitted being prone to exaggeration
Video: Paddy Jackson thanks judge and jury for fair trial
Public Prosecution Service: 'Ultimately right' rugby rape case was brought to trial

Indeed he was accompanied into and out of court every day by his mother who also sat in the public gallery listening to the graphic accounts of sexual activity.

When his defence barrister Arthur Harvey QC concluded his closing speech, there was a small ripple of applause from supporters in the public gallery.

McIlroy has been friends with Jackson since they were aged 11 and pals with Olding "for some years".

He attended the Ulster Rugby Academy but failed to secure a major senior contract.

During cross examination McIlroy agreed that from time to time he was prone to exaggeration.

Brendan Kelly QC, representing Paddy Jackson put to him: "You exaggerate from time to time and I think from time to time your close friends might even suggest you talk s***e."

He replied: "yeah."

He also has social media profiles on the likes of Twitter and Instagram where he has more than 1,000 followers but his photograph frequently appears on posts by his rugby pals.

He was a member of a WhatsApp group called the Juicers with friends in America on which he posted an image of three women at the party entitled: "Love Belfast sluts".

McIlroy also boasted about "pumping a bird" in text communications with pals.

During the trial he described how he had been interested in a witness when she came back to the house party.

In her evidence, Ms Florence told the court he had joked that he could give her "the time of her life".

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe from just £1 for the first month to get full access

Northern Ireland news

Today's horoscope

Horoscope


See a different horoscope: