Northern Ireland

Rugby rape trial: Woman denies 'lying about being raped'

Stuart Olding and Paddy Jackson Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Stuart Olding and Paddy Jackson, pictured at an earlier court appearance

A woman who has accused two Ulster and Ireland rugby players of raping her has denied "inventing" incidents that did not take place and "exaggerating" her emotional state.

The alleged victim told the court that she was "handled like a piece of meat".

Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding deny raping the woman, who was then 19, at a house in south Belfast in June 2016.

Her comments came while under cross-examination.

Defence barrister Frank O'Donoghue QC, acting for Stuart Olding, put it to her that there were a number of "inconsistencies" in her version of events.

She said: "You are underestimating the state of shock you go into after you've been raped."

She insisted she had not willingly got involved in any sexual activity that night.

The alleged victim added: "I was handled like a piece of meat.

"There wasn't one bit of my body that hadn't been touched."

'Twisted'

Earlier, the woman had denied telling "lies" about what allegedly happened to protect her reputation.

Under cross-examination, it was put to the 21-year-old woman that a fear that what occurred had been filmed led her to misrepresent the truth.

She rejected the suggestion and described it as "twisted".

Mr Jackson's barrister, Brendan Kelly QC, put it to the woman that she had been in an "intoxicated and excited" state.

He said: "You, that night, did engage of your own choice in sexual activity?"

The woman replied: "I completely reject that."

He then put it to her that she had been involved in group sex.

She replied: "Against my will. I was raped. I don't think I can make myself much clearer."

'Petrified'

Mr Kelly also put it to her that she had become willingly involved in something that she later regretted.

She replied: "I had no choice in the matter."

Mr Kelly later said to her: "You were petrified that either the rumour or the proof of this sexual activity would find its way to your friends. That's what drove you on as far as running with this lie."

The woman replied: "This is not a lie, Mr Kelly."

The jury was today shown the trousers, top and underwear that the woman at the centre of the case was wearing on the night of the alleged attack.

Some of the clothing had tan stains.

The court heard she had previously said she had no intention of having sex that night and one of the reasons was that she had not tanned her whole body.

Under cross-examination, she insisted that the tan stains on her top did not indicate that she had tanned her entire body.

'Publicity warning'

Earlier on Wednesday, the judge had told the jury to ignore "fireside lawyers" expressing opinions on the internet about the trial.

Judge Patricia Smyth said the views expressed were "ill-informed" and told jurors to ignore all publicity surrounding the case.

She told them to assess the case on "the evidence that you see and hear in this courtroom and nothing else".

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.

'Wait for all the evidence'

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.

The trial continues.

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