Northern Ireland

Rugby rape trial woman denies celebrity attraction

Stuart Olding (left) and Paddy Jackson
Image caption Stuart Olding (left) and Paddy Jackson deny the charges

The woman who accuses Ulster rugby players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding of raping her has denied being attracted to celebrities.

Mr Jackson and Mr Olding deny raping the woman in a house in south Belfast in June 2016.

Their rape trial was shown CCTV footage from the VIP area of Ollie's nightclub in Belfast where the woman went on the night in question.

Northern Ireland football team members were at the nightclub.

The CCTV footage from the nightclub showed the woman briefly putting her hand on Northern Ireland international striker Kyle Lafferty's knee, and momentarily holding onto the arm of another squad member Will Grigg, said defence barrister Brendan Kelly QC.

Mr Kelly asked the woman, who was 19 at the time of the alleged attack and is now 21: "Were you attracted at the time to celebrities?"

She replied: "No. I didn't know who those people were."

Paddy Jackson was also at Ollie's night club on the night in question.

Asked if she knew who he was at the time, the woman replied: "I knew his name, yes, and I knew what he looked like."

Earlier, the woman denied "watering down" her interest in rugby and rugby players.

Earlier in the trial, she said she did not follow rugby and had never been to an Ulster rugby match.

'I've not watered down anything'

The woman at the centre of the case has spent the past two days giving evidence from behind a screen

On Friday, the fifth day of the trial, Mr Kelly quizzed her on her interest in rugby.

Mr Kelly asked her: "Have you watered down either your following of rugby or your knowledge of the people who play it?"

She replied: "Not at all, Mr Kelly. I've not watered down anything."

The jury was shown a second police interview which the woman gave after the alleged attack.

She talked about the moment another woman briefly came into the bedroom during the incident.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Blane McIlroy (left) and Rory Harrison both deny the charges against them

She said: "The door opened and I turned round, saw it was a girl and turned back round again."

The woman added: "She walked in and said: 'Oh.'"

She added: "Paddy actually asked her if she wanted to join in."

The woman said there were a number of other women back at Paddy Jackson's house on the night of the alleged attack, but they were not her friends - she had only just met them.

She said she was worried that one of them had taken a photograph of her in the bedroom.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption The trial was shown CCTV footage from the VIP area of Ollie's nightclub in Belfast

Mr Jackson, 26, from Belfast's Oakleigh Park, is charged with one count of rape and one count of sexual assault. He denies the charges.

Mr Olding, 24, from Ardenlee Street, Belfast, is also charged with rape. He too denies the charge.

Two other men have also been charged in connection with the case.

Blane McIlroy, 26, of Royal Lodge Road, Belfast, is charged with one count of exposure. He denies the charge.

Rory Harrison, 25, of Manse Road, Belfast is charged with perverting the course of justice and withholding information. He denies the charge.

The 12-person jury has been told by Judge Patricia Smyth to wait until they hear all of the evidence in the case before coming to any final conclusions.

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