Northern Ireland

Rugby Rape trial: Sexual activity 'consensual' - McIlroy

Blane McIroy Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption Blane McIlroy denies one charge of exposure

A court has heard a friend of two Ulster rugby players accused of rape give his account of what happened on the night in question.

Blane McIlroy said he was involved in sexual activity with a woman at the same time as Paddy Jackson.

He insisted it was consensual.

It is the first time during the trial that the jury has heard a full account of what happened in Mr McIlroy's own words.

Earlier on Tuesday, the court heard a tape-recording of Ulster rugby player Stuart Olding denying allegations that he raped a young woman at Paddy Jackson's house.

'She seemed fine'

Image caption Paddy Jackson, Stuart Olding, Blane McIlroy and Rory Harrison deny all the charges

Tape recordings of interviews Mr McIlroy gave to police two days after the alleged attack were played in court on Tuesday.

He told detectives he kissed the 19-year-old woman and became involved in sexual activity with her after coming into the bedroom where she was with Mr Jackson.

He said he later heard her say: "This isn't like me. I usually don't have one-night stands."

Paddy Jackson and fellow rugby player Stuart Olding are accused of raping the same woman in Mr Jackson's bedroom, in the early hours of 28 June 2016. They both deny rape.

They say they engaged in sexual activity with the woman but insist it was consensual.

Mr McIlroy told police that when he came into the bedroom, he did not see Mr Olding but he saw Mr Jackson and the woman.

They were both naked, he said.

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

Asked by police if the woman seemed embarrassed when he came in, he said: "No, no, not at all. She didn't try to cover herself up or anything."

Image copyright PACEMAKER
Image caption Paddy Jackson denies one count of rape and one count of sexual assault

Mr McIlroy said that after chatting for a while, he started kissing the woman and she kissed him back.

He said they then engaged in sexual activity and Mr Jackson joined in.

He said: "She never once said 'stop' or 'I don't want to do this.'"

Mr McIlroy said no intercourse took place but he went out of the room to try to find a condom.

He could not find one and when he returned to the bedroom, the woman was getting dressed.

It was at this stage, Mr McIlroy said the woman said: "This isn't like me. I usually don't have one-night stands."

Asked about her emotions at the time, he said she did not seem upset but may have regretted what she did.

He said that earlier in the night, in the living room of Paddy Jackson's house, she had tried to kiss him.

'I wasn't forcing her'

Earlier on day 22 of the trial, audio recordings of Mr Olding's initial police interviews were played to the jury.

It was put to him by a detective that he forced the woman to perform oral sex on him.

Image copyright PACEMAKER
Image caption Stuart Olding said he was only in the bedroom for a relatively short period of time before leaving and sleeping elsewhere

He replied: "She was doing it, and I wasn't forcing her to do it."

The interviews took place at Musgrave Street PSNI station in Belfast on the evening of 30 June 2016 - two days after the alleged rapes.

The woman claims Mr Jackson raped her first and that when Mr Olding came into the bedroom, she said: "Please no, not him as well."

Mr Olding said he did not hear her say that.

'Held her hand out'

In his first police interview after being arrested, he said the woman held her hand out to him.

Mr Olding said that he was only in the bedroom a relatively short period of time, then left and slept elsewhere in the house.

He later discussed the night's events with Mr Jackson.

"We just talked about what happened," Mr Olding said.

"We were pretty hung over. We were drunk when it was happening."

He said both men had oral sex with the woman, but neither had sexual intercourse.

Mr Olding said that before the night in question, he had never met the young woman at the centre of the case and knew nothing about her.

The woman claims Mr McIlroy came into the bedroom naked at one stage.

Mr Olding said he did not recall that happening.

After his initial police interviews, Mr Olding was questioned again by police on 4 October 2016.

He replied "no comment" to all of the questions asked.

His solicitor told police Mr Olding's recollection of what happened had not changed and he had gone into as much detail as he could during the previous interviews.

Image copyright PACEMAKER
Image caption Rory Harrison and Blane McIlroy deny the charges against them

Ill juror

The jury now consists of eight men and three women, after a jury member took ill and was discharged.

The trial has now entered its fifth week and the jury has been told it is likely to last seven weeks.

The 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.

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.

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.

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