Belfast rape trial: What Paddy Jackson says

Newstalk's Frank Greaney sums up the evidence

Belfast rape trial: What Paddy Jackson says

Paddy Jackson arriving at Belfast Crown Court, 27-03-2018. Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire/PA Images

Paddy Jackson has pleaded not guilty to vaginally raping the woman at his home in the early hours of June 28th 2016.

He also denies sexually assaulting her. He claims he didn't even have sexual intercourse with her and insists the only sexual activity between them was oral and consensual.

He outlined his version of events when he took the stand on March 7th.

He told the court that after returning from a tour of South Africa with the Ireland rugby team on June 27th 2016, he and Stuart Olding went to Blane McIlroy’s house for a few cans.

Afterwards, he said they went on to a pub called Cutters Wharf where he had a few pints of Guinness. He accepted he would have been drunk before he ended up in Ollie’s nightclub later that night. He told the court he had a few gin and tonics in the club and some shots.

Ollie's Nightclub, Belfast. Image: Frank Greaney

After leaving the club, he said he just wanted to go home and relax.

“I was drunk and tired and it was late," he said. "I had been travelling for a long time and was still trying to recover from the game."

He said he remembered Blane calling him over and telling him to get in a taxi with “these three” – a reference to three of the four girls he assumed Blane had invited back to his house for an ‘after party.’

He was asked by his barrister Brendan Kelly QC if he had used his “name and fame” to secure someone else’s taxi as claimed by the defendant and he said “No, I would never do that. I’d be embarrassed if I did.”

Outside Oakleigh Park in Belfast, where Paddy Jackson's house is located. Image: Frank Greaney

When they got back to his house, he said he told everyone there were a few beers in the fridge for the guys and some prosecco and rosé and he invited them to help themselves.

He said he didn't know any of the girls who came back that night. Mr. Kelly QC asked him about his contact with the complainant back at the house and he said:

“I was on the sofa and she was sitting on the opposite sofa just looking at me so I smiled at her ... I didn't think her looking at me was strange ... her attention was very much focused on me and it got my attention," he said.

"We were flirting with each other and she would follow me to the kitchen whenever I went in.

"It all seemed very innocent and normal. I was getting the impression she liked me. It was nice. I liked her back.”

At some point during the night, Mr Jackson said he went upstairs to his room. He said he remembered thinking she might follow him - and she did.

He said he was “100% sure” he was in the room before her. He said the main light doesn’t work in his room so he turned on the bedside lamp and they ended up sitting on his bed where they started kissing.

He denied lunging at her as claimed by the complainant when she was in the witness box.

“The kiss was open mouth," he said. "Our bodies were very close and we were passionately kissing."

"It went on for a while and then she pulled away and asked if I knew what her name was.

"It was a bit awkward because I didn't know her name. I tried to shrug it off and she asked me again and I said I didn't."

Mr Kelly QC then asked him if he thought it was like “teasing” and Mr Jackson said “yes.”

He was asked if at any stage did she say no during this first incident and he said “no, she didn't.” He also denied trying to undo her trousers as alleged by her and said he didn't see a bag in the bedroom at any stage. He said he left the room first and got downstairs first.

Paddy Jackson (left) arrives at Belfast Crown Court,  08-03-2018

He told the court he was downstairs for up to fifteen minutes and he remembered standing in the middle of the room at one point when she came up very close to him.

“Almost face to face,” he said.

“She ran her finger nails down my right arm."

"I felt it was her way of getting my attention again - It did.

"It was quite nice when she did it. I felt it was her way of saying she’d moved on from what happened upstairs and so we started flirting again."

Mr Jackson said he was attracted to her and when asked by Mr Kelly QC if he followed her upstairs the second time, he said “No.”

He also denied asking his friend and co-accused Rory Harrison to say she was fixated with him before he gave his witness statement two days later.

The woman claims she was raped during her second visit to Mr Jackson’s bedroom. She told the court it happened when she went upstairs to get her bag. Again, Mr Jackson said he didn't see her bag on a chest of drawers in his room.

“I was in the middle of the room and she came in shortly afterwards," he said.

"She met me in the middle. She came to me. She didn't say anything about her bag and nothing was said about the first incident before we started kissing again."

Mr Kelly QC: “Did you grab her?”

Paddy Jackson: “No”

Mr Kelly QC: “Did you pull her from the doorway – from the chest of drawers?”

Paddy Jackson: “No”

Mr Kelly QC: “Did you use any force at all?”

Paddy Jackson: “No, I wouldn’t do that”

Mr Kelly QC: “Was the kissing consensual?”

Paddy Jackson: “Yes, definitely”

“I backed up towards the bed while we were still kissing," he said.

"When I hit the bed I sat down and we maintained kissing.

"She was over me; still standing before we moved properly onto the bed. I was on my back and I shimmied up towards the headboard until I was on my back lying down. She was lying on top of me.

"I remember she bit my lower lip. It was playful but pretty hard. It was sore but didn't hurt. My eyes started to water. She wouldn’t let go of my lip. Eventually I got away and there was no damage caused but she got it again."

Mr Jackson said they were both fully dressed while this was taking place and that she kissed his neck before undoing his trousers.

“I arched back a bit to help her and she pulled them down to below my knees. She touched my penis and put it her mouth and performed oral sex. It was just normal,” he said.

File photo of Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding outside Laganside Crown court. Image:  Niall Carson/PA Wire/PA Images

He told the court she was enjoying it and was then asked about Stuart Olding’s entrance.

“She was on top of me performing oral sex when the door opened and Stuart walked in," he said.

"He walked in on us and it was a bit embarrassing. I smiled at him and waved at him. It was kind of stupid like ‘hi, look at what’s happening.’

"Her attention then went from me to Stuart. It just happened. He was clothed and lay on the bed on his back. I got off and kicked off my trousers. "She was performing oral sex on him and I started playing with her. I was obviously drunk and I don't think I would have been fully erect.”

When asked if it was intention to have penile intercourse with her, Mr Jackson said “yes, I thought it was leading to that” and when asked why it didn’t happen, he said “she asked for a condom and I looked in the bedside drawer but couldn't find one.”

Mr Jackson said he remembered Dara Florence walking in but didn't remember asking her if she wanted to join in.

Both the complainant and Ms Florence claim he did but that she declined and left the room.

When asked what he had to say about Ms Florence telling police she was “100% sure” he was having sex with the woman, Mr Jackson said “she’s wrong, she’s mistaken ... I was not having sex with her and I couldn't believe it when I heard she said that."

"I was shocked and panicked and I couldn't understand why she said it but I kind of understood why she would have thought that when I heard her evidence.”

He said he remembered seeing “a bit of blood” on his fingers at one point but he just thought it was something to do with her period and would have stopped if he thought he was hurting her.

Mr Kelly QC also asked him if he remembered seeing Stuart’s hands on the woman’s head while she was performing oral sex on him and Mr Jackson said he didn't. He also denied putting his own hands on the back of her head and said neither he nor Stuart were restraining her.

 
Outside Oakleigh Park in Belfast, where Paddy Jackson's house is located. Image: Frank Greaney

When Stuart left the room, he said she didn't say anything.

“We were both naked on the bed and I presumed she was going to stay," he said.

"I didn't ejaculate in any way. We lay very close to each other on the bed and we were touching but not in a sexual way.”

Later, he said he remembered the complainant getting dressed at the end of the bed but he didn't think it was weird she was leaving.

He said he put on some sweats and went downstairs where he bumped into Blane McIlroy. He said he heard the woman’s high heels and just saw the back of her as she left through the front door.

“I didn't see her upset," he said. "If I did, I would have gone to check on her."

"The last thing I want is a girl crying and leaving my house. I would have freaked out and tried to contact her for fear of this.”

Mr McIlory claims he walked in on Paddy and the woman naked on the bed and that he shared a consensual kiss with her before she also performed oral sex on him.

Mr Jackson said he didn't see Blane in his bedroom at all nor did he see her performing oral sex on him.

If you have been affected by anything mentioned in this article you can contact the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre National 24-Hour helpline on 1800-77-88-88