"She didn't have to stay, she could have left if she wanted to" - Court hears transcript from Paddy Jackson police interview
Paddy Jackson was on holiday. He had just returned from South Africa and he was over at his friend Blane McIlroy’s house in Belfast.
The jury in the rape trial of Jackson and Stuart Olding at Laganside Courts in Belfast on Friday heard the transcript of Jackson's interview with the PSNI on June 30th, one day after a 19-year-old woman went to the police to report that she had been sexually assaulted and raped in Paddy Jackson's bedroom. Both men deny all charges.
Stuart Olding was over at Blane’s house too on that June day. He remembers drinking eight tins of Carlsberg in the house.
It was a summer’s afternoon and the rugby players were having a few cans of beer before heading out to a bar called Cutter’s Wharf to watch England play Iceland in the European Championships.
From Cutter’s Wharf, the friends took a taxi to Ollie’s nightclub, a revamped club in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter where Jackson and his friends didn’t have to pay in, as the court previously heard from Rory Harrison’s police interview, and headed straight to the VIP area.
In Ollie’s night club, Stuart Olding remembers drinking two gin and tonics, five vodka lemonades, three shots of tequila and Sambuca.
At closing time, Paddy Jackson remembers standing outside the night club chatting to a few girls. Jackson was the only one of his friends to have his own place, so it was the pre-agreed arrangement that people would head back to his house.
In Laganside Courts, Belfast, the jury heard the transcripts of a taped interview with Jackson at the Musgrave police station on 30th June 2016, which was read to the court by Toby Hedworth, QC, prosecuting barrister.
Jackson said he got in a taxi with three girls to go back to his house. He didn’t know them before that night and when the police officer put it to him that the complainant was one of the girls in the taxi he was surprised, he couldn’t remember her.
In both Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding’s interviews, the descriptions of the after-party back at Jackson’s townhouse are fairly normal. There were beers, there was dancing, someone was playing music.
Paddy Jackson was enjoying himself, he said. His friends were all there, he was on his holidays and he wasn’t looking for any “sexual encounters” as he put it himself. But at the party there was one girl who Jackson didn’t know. A girl who by Jackson’s account was in the corner looking at him while he was talking to his friends and singing along to the music.
Jackson said he kept noticing this one girl looking at him. He said he remembers she would walk past him occasionally, touching him in “flirty ways". Jackson told the police this was nice, but he was kind of “oblivious”.
Jackson said this girl was “being quite forward”.
Paddy Jackson went upstairs. He told the police he didn’t recall why exactly, but then he said “I was…maybe hoping she would follow me up”.
Jackson remembers going into his bedroom and hearing the girl come up behind him. He turned the light on and he told the police they kissed each other, at first standing and then on the bed.
He said the girl, was trying to tease him in a way saying, “Oh, you don’t know my name”. Jackson remembers it as being “kinda a bit of a joke”. Jackson couldn’t remember exactly why they stopped kissing but he told the police he just wanted to go back downstairs to his friends.
He said he didn’t really notice how the girl was, Jackson told the police earlier in the interview. He didn’t know what the girl looked like, he couldn’t really remember, he thought she might have sandy hair.
After another 10-15 minutes downstairs at the party, where Jackson took a photo of some girls sitting on Blane McIlroy’s knee, Jackson said he went back upstairs and the girl followed him again. He said, “I think she was just waiting for another chance to go back upstairs…”.
Jackson, whose bedroom is directly over his living room, said he and this girl began kissing. The court heard in Jackson’s own words, read by Toby Hedworth QC, that they sat on the end of his bed and then they both lay back on the bed and kept kissing and touching.
Jackson told the police that the girl bit his lip pretty hard and that she took down his trousers and his underwear. Jackson didn’t remember what the girl was wearing. Paddy Jackson said he wasn’t sure how long this went on before he saw Stuart Olding standing at the doorway.
Jackson said he “kinda waved and smiled” at his friend. Olding then came in and sat down on the end of the bed. Jackson said it was then that the girl on top of him noticed Olding and “started doing the same to him”.
Jackson said “we basically swapped over”. He described to the police in the presence of his solicitor how, while Olding was receiving oral sex from the girl, he started gently touching the girl’s “downstairs region”.
By Jackson’s account the two men were on the bed, a super-king size bed, engaging in a consensual threesome. “I didn’t force myself on her, I presume if it was happening she wanted it to happen, she didn’t have to stay, she could’ve left if she wanted to.”. Jackson described how he touched the girl’s vagina slowly. He said he did notice a little blood on his finger and on the duvet but thought it was to do with the girl’s period.
The court heard that Jackson remembered the girl asking if he had a condom. He told the police he didn’t have one that night and that he was drunk so he couldn’t ejaculate and there was no sexual intercourse.
By his account soon after his friend Stuart left, he went back downstairs to the party and never spoke to the girl after the sexual activity.
Jackson remembers hearing her leave because his hallway is tiled and he could hear her high heels on the floor. He told the police he stuck his head out and saw her go, and that his friend’s Rory Harrison, Blane McIIroy and Stuart Olding remained in the house.
Jackson was interviewed four times on the same day. During the fourth interview, he was asked about the digital penetration and if he had tried to put his whole hand up the girl. He told the police that sounded “disgusting” and not something he ever would have done.
Paddy Jackson told the police he had no memory of Blane McIlroy ever coming into the room when he was with the girl. He had no memory of ever seeing him naked in his house that night and had no memory of Blane McIlroy coming into the room holding his penis while he was touching the girl.
Paddy Jackson went to sleep that night in his bed with Blane McIlroy. He didn’t change the sheets on which the complainant’s blood would later be identified.
The following day Jackson and the other men - Harrison, McIIroy and Olding - met up for lunch in Soul Food café.
Jackson said he doesn’t remember talking about the sexual activities of the night previously with Stuart but he remembers feeling “good” about it and “good” about both of them being given oral sex by the same girl.
Two days after Paddy Jackson went out for a few drinks with his friends to Ollie’s night club he was sitting in Musgrave Police station with a solicitor and a pre-prepared statement, which read: “I have been arrested on the charges of rape and sexual assault, arising from an allegation made about me. I strenuously deny these allegations, I am shocked and horrified these allegations have been made against me.”.
Paddy Jackson sat in Courtroom 12 on the fourth Friday of his trial and listened back to his words of 20 months ago. Jackson is now on trial for rape and sexual assault, he denies both charges.
Jackson’s words were read out in court by Toby Hedworth QC, the prosecuting barrister, but the court heard Stuart Olding’s account in his own tones, as the taped conversation between the Ulster rugby player and a member of the rape crime unit was played over loudspeakers. Stuart Olding is charged with oral rape. He denies the charge.
Stuart Olding’s account of the early part of the night was much the same as Jackson’s. He remembered going to Blane McIlroy’s house to drink and chat and then Blane ordering a taxi from Olding’s phone to bring the group to Cutter’s Wharf where they saw Iceland beat England 2-1.
Olding remembered going to Ollie’s nightclub where he left at closing time.
Olding told the police officer who was interviewing him that he got a taxi back to Paddy Jackson’s house with Rory Harrison and a girl Emily Doherty, who he described as having dark hair and dark eyes, wearing a black dress. They were in the second taxi, in front of them were Paddy, McIllroy and three girls Stuart Olding didn’t know.
The court heard in Olding’s own voice that when everyone got back to Jackson’s house, Olding got beers for the girls from the fridge.
Stuart Olding told the police officer that he didn’t remember any specific conversations he had, but after a while he went upstairs to Paddy’s room to sleep in his bed. The court heard that it was a common thing that Olding would sleep in the same bed as his friend Paddy.
When Olding got to his friend’s room, however, he saw Paddy and a girl, who he described as wearing a black top, white trousers and of big build, straddling his friend. He said they were both on top of the covers. He said Paddy had his top off but the girl was fully clothed.
Stuart told the police that he was about to leave the room but stayed when the girl “hinted” she wanted him to stay.
Asked as to what this hint entailed, Olding described to the police officer how she put her hand out to him, so he went over to the bed and they started kissing.
Olding said the girl was kissing him back, she didn’t pull away, he said their mouths were open and their tongues touching.
While Stuart Olding was kissing the girl, he said Paddy was lying on the other side of her, not doing anything.
Olding couldn’t recall how the kissing turned into oral sex, couldn’t recall how his trousers were unbuttoned, couldn’t recall how the girl began taking his penis in her mouth.
The longest silence on the tape came after the police officer asked Olding whether he touched the girl in any way. After a long moment and with a prompt from the interviewer, Olding said he “sort of touched” the left side of the girl’s face at one point.
The court heard Olding say the girl who was giving Stuart Olding oral sex had taken her own top off at this point and was “slid down on the bed” by Olding’s knees. And when Olding ejaculated on his own stomach he got up and walked into the adjoining bathroom to wipe himself down.
Stuart Olding said he left the room with Paddy Jackson and the girl who had just given him oral sex still lying on the bed, he then went into another room to fall asleep on an L-shaped sofa, where he found Emily Doherty already asleep and fully clothed, underneath a blanket.
Much of the evidence earlier in the week focused on the physical and forensic evidence, taken from the complainant 14 hours after she left Paddy Jackson’s South Belfast home in a taxi with Rory Harrison, when she visited the Rowan Clinic, a Sexual Assault Referral Centre, in Co. Antrim.
As recounted, it was a casual night out - a few friends out on a summer’s evening. Two years later on a wintery afternoon, every detail of that evening, from the brand of Olding’s boxers to the stripes on Paddy Jackson’s duvet cover, was pored over in a criminal court.
Blane McIlroy is also on trial for exposure and Rory Harrison for withholding information and obstructing the course of justice. All defendants deny the charges made against them.
The trial continues on Monday with more tapes and transcripts from the defendants' 2016 interviews with the police. The trial was originally expected to finish by next week but is now due to finish by March 16th, as proceedings are behind schedule.