Paddy Jackson “shocked and horrified” by rape allegations, court hears
The latest from Belfast Crown Court.
Irish rugby international Paddy Jackson told police he was "shocked and horrified" by allegations he had raped a woman in the bedroom of his south Belfast home, a court heard on Friday.
The 26-year-old was arrested two days after a woman claimed she was raped from behind by Jackson, whilst being made to perform oral sex on his teammate and friend Stuart Olding (24).
Refuting suggestions he raped or sexually assaulted the woman, Jackson told police: "I didn't force myself on her. I presumed... it was happening and she wanted it to happen. She didn't have to stay. She could have left if she wanted but she didn't."
Both men have denied rape, whilst Jackson has been charged with, and denies, a further sexual assault. The pair both claim any sexual activity was consensual.
As the trial at Belfast Crown Court came to the end of its fourth week, the jury heard police interviews which were conducted with both Jackson and Olding after they were arrested on 30 June, 2016 - two days after the alleged sex attack on the then 19-year-old.
While Jackson refuted suggestions he hurt the woman and said she could have left the bedroom at any time, Olding said that when he walked in the room, the woman instigated oral sex on him.
Jackson, from Oakleigh Park, was interviewed four times on June 30 and was questioned a fifth time in October 2016.
In his first interview, Jackson's solicitor read out a pre-prepared statement in which he stated: "I strenuously deny these allegations. I am shocked and horrified these allegations have been made against me."
As the interviews continued at Musgrave Park PSNI station in Belfast, the woman's allegations were put to Jackson in more detail - and at one point during questioning he became upset.
He confirmed to police he had been in Ollie's nightclub with friends on Monday, 27 July, 2016 and also confirmed people came back to his house in the early hours of the following morning.
When he was asked about the woman at the centre of the case, Jackson said he had never met her before that evening, and was unsure how she ended up back at his house after Ollie's.
Jackson said that whilst back at his, the woman "was being quite forward" with him, and she twice followed him up to his bedroom. He claimed the first time they were upstairs there was kissing, but this ended when she asked if he knew what her name was.
He said they went back down to the party and "same again... I noticed she was still looking at me. A couple of times she came up and kind of touched me. I think she was flirting with me. I was pretty sure something was going to happen between us."
Jackson told police when he went back upstairs, she followed him and they "just kind of picked up where we left off".
In his version of events, Jackson said the women started performing oral sex on him, "then the door opened and my friend Stuart who was there came in. He didn't know we were up there. He just walked in the room, saw what was happening with me and her". Jackson claimed at this point "she stopped performing oral sex on me and started on him".
Jackson claimed as she was performing oral sex on Olding, he started "using my hands on her". When asked by police to explain, Jackson said: "I was using my hands and she seemed to be enjoying it. Sorry. I just find it a bit awkward talking about it."
Reporting by Ashleigh McDonald for M&M News Services