Northern Ireland

Rugby rape trial: Those who made the headlines

BBC News NI takes a look at the central figures in the rugby rape trial.

The woman

She was 19-years-old at the time. She is now 21. Under the law, she is guaranteed a lifetime of anonymity. No details about her are allowed to be published.

She went back to Paddy Jackson's house from Ollie's nightclub in Belfast.

After a while, she went up to his bedroom. They kissed briefly before going downstairs.

Later, they went back upstairs again separately.

She told the trial that Paddy Jackson followed her, raped her, then Stuart Olding forced her to perform oral sex on him and later Blane McIlroy came into the bedroom naked, asking for sex. She went to the police 36 hours later.

In the trial, she gave evidence on eight separate days, from behind a curtain.

In court she said: "Rape is a game of power and control. The only way to take power back is when you actually do something about it."

Paddy Jackson

He was 24 at the time. He is now 26. A professional rugby player, he has played for Ulster 123 times and has 25 caps for Ireland.

Image copyright Pacemaker

He told the trial he had sexual activity with the woman but he did not have intercourse with her and he did not rape her.

He said she twice followed him up to his bedroom. He said Stuart Olding also engaged in sexual activity with the woman but he did not see Blane McIlroy in the room with her. He insisted all of the sexual activity was consensual. He denied charges of rape and sexual assault.

In the trial, Paddy Jackson gave evidence on one day (the 27th day of the trial) for a total of three hours, 40 minutes.

In court he said: "The last thing I want is a girl crying and leaving my house … I had no idea she was upset."

Stuart Olding

He was 23 at the time. He turned 25 during the trial. A professional rugby player, he has played 62 times for Ulster, and has four Irish caps.

He told the trial he went into the room where Paddy Jackson and the woman were in bed, not knowing they were there.

Image copyright PAcemaker

He said she gestured to him to stay, they started kissing and she performed oral sex on him. He said he left the room after around 10 minutes and went to sleep in a different room.

He insisted all of the sexual activity was consensual. He denied a charge of rape.

In the trial, he gave evidence on one day.

In court he said: "If she had resisted in any way... I wouldn't have carried on."

Blane McIlroy

He was 24 at the time, and had just returned home on study leave from America. He is now 26.

He told the trial he went into the room where Paddy Jackson and the woman were in bed.

Image copyright PAcemaker

He said he did not realise they were there. He said he and the woman started kissing and then they briefly engaged in consensual sexual activity. He denied a charge of exposure.

In the trial, he gave evidence on one day.

In court, he said: "I told the police everything. The truth."

Rory Harrison

He was 23 at the time, and had a job in Dublin. He was first contacted by police on his 24th birthday. He is now 25.

He took the woman home from Paddy Jackson's house in a taxi. He realised she was upset but was not sure why.

Image copyright PAcemaker

The next day she sent him a message explaining that what had happened with his friends "was not consensual". He did not believe her. He denied withholding information and perverting the course of justice.

In the trial, he gave evidence on two separate days.

In court, he said: "I have known Patrick since I was eight or nine. He is the last person in the world to rape someone."

Dara Florence

She was one of the four women who went back to Paddy Jackson's house and she briefly entered his bedroom after going upstairs to look for a friend.

Image copyright PACEMAKER

In the room, she saw a woman and two men on the bed. She said it did not look like a rape. She said Paddy Jackson asked her if she wanted to join in and she left.

In court she said: "I closed the door, kind of laughed and said: "I have just seen a threesome".

The jury

Nine men and three women started hearing the case but one man took ill and was discharged halfway through the case.

On day one, the judge told the jurors that hearing the case was "probably the most important civic function of their lives".

At the end of the second week of the trial, they were taken to Paddy Jackson's house to see his bedroom and the layout of his house.

In court, the Judge told the jury: "There will be a lot of press interest. Just ignore it."

Rory Best

The Irish rugby captain was mentioned in court a number of times but did not give evidence.

Rory Best sat in the public gallery of the court on the third day of the trial, the same day as the woman started giving her evidence.

Image copyright Pacemaker

He was criticised in some quarters for doing so.

The following Saturday, after leading Ireland to victory over France in Paris, he explained: "I've been called as a character witness.

"I was advised that It was important that I got both sides of the story."

In the end, he was not called as a witness. However, it was mentioned that he and Paddy Jackson were good friends, and he once babysat Mr Best's children.

In court, the judge told the jury: "The only reason why Mr Rory Best was in this court last week was because he was directed to be here by senior counsel."