Rugby rape trial: Witness says she 'closed the door, kind of laughed and said 'I have just seen a threesome'

Update 5.40pm: A woman who walked in on an alleged rape involving two Ireland and Ulster rugby players thought she had witnessed a threesome, a court has been told.

Dara Florence was giving evidence to Belfast Crown Court during the trial of Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding.

Paddy Jackson (right) and Stuart Olding.

She said: "I closed the door, kind of laughed and said: 'I have just seen a threesome.'"

Ms Florence, who did not know the alleged victim, had been partying with friends at the home of fly half Paddy Jackson during the early hours of June 28 2016.

It was when she and a friend went to look for a third intoxicated companion that she walked in on the sex act, the court heard.

Having heard "moaning" and "groaning" from an upstairs bedroom, Ms Florence said she opened the door, mistakenly believing it may have been her missing friend.

Prosecution barrister Toby Hedworth QC asked: "You opened the door. What was the result?"

"Seeing a threesome," said Ms Florence.

The door was opened for less than a minute, the court heard.

Meanwhile, the court heard how Jackson allegedly asked Ms Florence if she wanted to join in the sexual activity.

"Did you reply?" asked Mr Hedworth

"Yeah, I said, no," she said.

The barrister continued: "So, having declined the invitation, what happened then?"

Ms Florence said: "Yeah, so I closed the door, kind of laughed and said: 'I have just seen a threesome', and then we went down the stairs."

Some time later Ms Florence and her friend left the party in a taxi, leaving their other companion asleep in an upstairs living room, it emerged.

During cross-examination by Brendan Kelly QC, representing Jackson, she was questioned about two statements provided to police in which she claimed the woman had not appeared distressed.

"Presumably that remains your recollection?" asked Mr Kelly.

Ms Florence answered: "One hundred per cent."

She did not have any concerns about what she saw in the bedroom, the court heard.

Mr Kelly added: "Did you have any concern when you left the room?"

She answered: "No."

She added that the "movement" within the room had suggested to her that sex was taking place.

"I would say I 100% saw sex, from the movement," she said.

In her evidence the complainant has described being "frozen with fear" as reasons for not fighting back or screaming for help when Ms Florence walked in.

Mr Kelly asked: "Did you see any sign that (the complainant) was frozen with fear when you were stood watching her on the bed?"

"No," said Ms Florence.

The lawyer added: "From what you could see, and please listen to my question very carefully: were there any signs of (the complainant) not consenting to what was going on?"

Again, Ms Florence replied: "No."

During further questioning, by Frank O'Donoghue QC, representing Stuart Olding, the woman again stated she did not see anything that caused alarm.

Mr O'Donoghue asked: "There was nothing unusual in the position that she was adopting that made you feel her position was forced or contrived in any way?"

She said: "No."

Before concluding her evidence, Ms Florence was again re-examined by prosecution barrister Mr Hedworth QC about the actions of the complainant.

He said: "Apart from turning her head, were there any actions?"

Ms Florence said: "No."

The lawyer then said: "Were there any signs that (the complainant) was positively consenting?"

The woman said: "No."

Paddy Jackson, 26, from Oakleigh Park in Belfast, and 24-year-old-old Stuart Olding, from Ardenlee Street in the city, deny raping the same woman at a property in south Belfast in June 2016.

Jackson denies a further charge of sexual assault.

Two others have been charged in connection with the same alleged incident.

Blane McIlroy, 26, from Royal Lodge Road, Ballydollaghan, Belfast, denies exposure, while Rory Harrison, 25, from Manse Road in Belfast, also denies perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

The case continues.

Update 2.10pm: Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding’s trial is this afternoon hearing from some of the other girls who were at the party where the alleged rape took place.

The Ireland and Ulster rugby players are accused of raping a woman at Jackson’s home in south Belfast in the early hours of June 28th 2016.

After eight days in the witness box, the woman who claims to have been raped by Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding concluded her evidence around noon by again denying their accounts of what happened.

Prosecuting barrister Toby Hedworth then called one of the three other girls who also went back to Jackson’s house that night.

She said they had a few drinks and were listening to some music and she described the atmosphere as chilled.

She said she and her friend were preparing to leave and went upstairs looking for another friend.

She told the jury her friend opened a bedroom door and closed it a few seconds later.

She said she turned to her and said “Oh my God, I’ve seen a threesome” and she said it was Jackson, Olding and the complainant.

The court heard she later told police her friend had also told her she heard sexual noises when she entered the room.

Another girl who was at the party said she asked Jackson about it the following morning and he just shook his head and said “no, nothing happened”.

Update 1.24pm: Latest: Paddy Jackson denies having sexual intercourse with woman, court told

Paddy Jackson denies ever having sexual intercourse with a woman who has accused him of rape, a court has been told.

Addressing the complainant in the high-profile case, prosecution barrister Toby Hedworth QC said: "It is Mr Jackson's case that he never had sexual intercourse with you and that the height of what he did was to digitally penetrate you whilst you were performing oral sex on Mr Olding."

She replied: "That's incorrect."

Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding.

The woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was being re-examined by the prosecution as her evidence drew to a close.

She was in the witness box at Belfast Crown Court for an eighth separate day.

When asked if she believed Jackson had sexual intercourse with her on more than one occasion, the woman replied: "It was more than one occasion because he had already had sex with me before Mr Olding entered the room."

Meanwhile, the woman also rejected suggestions that Jackson's Ulster team mate Stuart Olding, who also denies rape, walked in while she was "straddling" Jackson and that she "instigated" sexual activity with him.

"That's completely incorrect," said the woman, adding that her trousers were at her knees making it "impossible" to straddle anyone.

"I didn't instigate anything with Mr Olding," she said.

Meanwhile, the court also heard that in a note written when she got home after the alleged attack, the complainant described Olding as an imbecile and monkeyish.

Stuart Olding

The note recorded the names Blane, Paddy Jackson and the description blonde, short, imbecile and monkeyish, the court heard.

Mr Hedworth asked: "What does imbecile and monkeyish refer to?"

The woman answered: "That was my impression of Mr Olding."

Paddy Jackson, 26, from Oakleigh Park in Belfast, denies raping the woman in June 2016.

He also denies a further charge of sexual assault.

Twenty-four-year-old Olding, from Ardenlee Street in Belfast, also denies raping the same woman.

Two others have been charged in connection with the same alleged incident.

Blane McIlroy, 26, from Royal Lodge Road, Ballydollaghan, Belfast, denies exposure.

Rory Harrison, 25, from Manse Road in Belfast, also denies perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

The case continues.

Update 11.30am: Rugby rape trial hears alleged victim described one accused as 'blonde, short, imbecile and monkey-ish'

The prosecuting barrister in Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding’s trial has spent the morning re-examining the woman who claims they raped her.

The Ireland and Ulster rugby players deny raping her at Jackson’s home in south Belfast following a night out in June 2016.

Mr. Jackson claims he didn’t even have sex with her, while Mr. Olding claims she instigated a sex act on him when he walked in to the room.

She has again denied their versions of what happened.

In a note penned by the woman after the alleged attack, the court also heard she described Mr. Olding as "blonde, short, imbecile and monkey-ish".

Earlier: Cross examination of alleged rugby rape victim to continue this morning

The prosecuting barrister in Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding’s rape trial will be given an opportunity to re-examine the alleged victim this morning.

The woman, who claims she was raped by the Ireland and Ulster rugby players in Jackson’s Belfast home, has spent seven days in the witness box.

In her direct evidence last Wednesday week, the woman laid out her account of what she claims happens when she went back to a party at Paddy Jackson’s house after a night out in June 2016.

Blane McIlroy.

And over the almost two weeks that have followed, she has spent six days being cross-examined by the defence barristers for each of the accused.

Yesterday was the turn of Arthur Harvey for Blane McIlroy from Royal Lodge Road in Belfast who’s accused of exposing himself to the woman.

He described her memory as “fractured and fried” and said her version of events were either clouded by drink or her unwillingness to acknowledge what he claims to have happened – that she had sex with a number of men.

Mr. McIlroy’s version of events was also put to her. He claims he was fully dressed when he walked into the room and that she performed various sex acts on him. She denies that account.

The prosecuting barrister may wish to re-examine her when the trial resumes this morning.

- Digital Desk



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