Paddy Jackson says he is 'sorry' and 'ashamed'
An Ulster and Ireland rugby player who was last month acquitted of rape has said he is "ashamed" that the woman who accused him left his home distressed.
Paddy Jackson said he would "always regret" the events of that night and apologised "unreservedly" for messages he sent in the aftermath.
He and his teammate Stuart Olding were found not guilty of rape.
But he told the Press Association he had "betrayed the values of his family" and was sorry.
Mr Jackson was also cleared of sexual assault.
He and Mr Olding have been relieved of their playing duties while an IRFU and Ulster Rugby review takes place.
Mr Jackson said public criticism of his behaviour was "fully justified" and he expressed determination to return to the values and principles that guided his upbringing, in particular the importance of respect.
He said: "I am also truly sorry for engaging in a Whatsapp group chat which was degrading and offensive and I apologise unreservedly for this.
"The criticism of my behaviour is fully justified and I know I have betrayed the values of my family and those of the wider public.
"Following the trial I have taken time to reflect with my family on the values that were such an integral part of my upbringing, the most important of which is respect.
"My departure from these values has caused understandable public anger and I am resolutely committed to returning to those principles."
In the wake of his acquittal, Mr Olding also expressed regret for his involvement in the incident.
Two other men were unanimously acquitted of lesser charges related to the high-profile case.
Blane McIlroy, 26, was acquitted of exposure while Rory Harrison, 25, was found not guilty of perverting the course of justice and withholding information.