Belfast rape trial: What she says

Newstalk's Frank Greaney sums up the evidence

Belfast rape trial: What she says

General view of Belfast Crown Court. Picture by: Niall Carson/PA Archive/PA Images

The complainant was the first witness called to give evidence by the prosecution. She took the stand on January 31st 2018 and remained there for eight court sittings.

A large blue curtain was drawn across the witness box for her evidence so that only the judge, the jury and the lawyers were in her direct line of vision.

A camera was mounted in front of her and a live feed was projected onto a large screen that was placed just to the right of the dock.

Judge Patricia Smyth told the jurors this was the "normal way" complainants give evidence in these cases and she told them it had nothing to do with the defendants.

Paddy Jackson had an open notebook on his lap throughout her evidence-in-chief.

Laganside Courts in Belfast | Image: Frank Greaney

She began by telling the prosecuting barrister Toby Hedworth QC that she was 19-years-old when she went out to celebrate the end of exams on June 27th 2016.

She said she went for "pre-drinks" at a friend's house where she had one and a half large glasses of wine before they went to Ollie's nightclub in Belfast city where she said she had "maybe three double vodkas" during her time there.

Outside Ollie's nightclub in Belfast | Image: Frank Greaney

Afterwards, she said she got chatting to some girls who were mutual friends of another two friends of hers. She said they asked her if she wanted to go to an "after party".

She told the jurors she didn't remember them saying whose party it was.

She said Paddy Jackson was behind the girls and she remembered him speaking to a taxi driver who was waiting for another fare.

She said the driver let them into the taxi after he spoke to him. She said she shared the taxi with Paddy and two other girls who were also going to the party.

In the taxi on the way back to Paddy's house, she said she remembered telling him that she'd met him once before when she was doing some promotion work for Guinness in a bar in Belfast city that he was socialising in with his Ulster rugby teammates.

She said she doesn't follow rugby and has never been to an Ulster match but one of the guys had pointed Paddy out to her because he drank Guinness and she was giving out free pints.

She told the court she hadn't seen him or the other defendants in Ollie's that night and hadn't spoken to them.

She said she was under the impression more people, including her friends, were going to arrive back to the party.

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

She described music being played and she said she wasn't drinking back at the house but others were.

She said she danced a bit to an Arctic Monkeys song when it came on.

Paddy Jackson 

At one point during the party, she described being alone in a room with Paddy. She said "we kissed. It was consensual and it was instigated by Paddy".

"He tried to undo my trousers but I told him firmly I wasn't interested and went back downstairs.

"He didn't try to take matters further on that occasion," she said.

She told the court she decided to leave at this point because she formed the view the mood downstairs had changed so she put her heels back on and went looking for her clutch bag.

She said she couldn't find it downstairs so she went upstairs to Paddy's room to look for it. When she went into his room for a second time, she said: "I remember Paddy standing at the foot of the bed and grabbing my trousers by the waistband.

"He undid them and pulled them down to my knees. In that moment, you think you're going to kick and scream and fight but it doesn't work that way. You just freeze. I knew where this was going.

"It just happened so quickly. He sort of pushed me down on the bed. I was wearing white trousers.

"They were quite tight and got caught on my knees so I couldn't actually move. Next thing I remember I'm face down on the bed and he's having sex with me.

"He didn't say anything to me. I tried to push his hand away at the start. There was nothing about me physically that was telling him to keep going. He knew I didn't want this to happen and he kept going."

Stuart Olding

In relation to Stuart Olding's entrance into the room, she said: "I remember the door opening at one point. Paddy was on his back on the bed. I was face-to-face with him and my trousers were still pulled down.

"Stuart walked in and my heart just sank because I knew what was going to happen so I looked Paddy straight in the eyes and said 'please no, not him as well'."

She said her trousers then came off but she couldn't remember who took them off. She said: "Paddy was behind me again and Stuart was forcing me to give him oral sex while Paddy was having sex with me."

The trial heard a woman called Dara Florence also walked in at one point. She was one of the three other girls who were at the party.

She later told police she thought she had walked in on a threesome and said the woman didn't seem distressed and she didn't think she had just witnessed a rape.

During her direct evidence, the complainant told the court she remembered hearing a woman's voice after the door opened again but she said she turned away because she was worried she was going to be filmed.

She said she remembered Paddy asking the woman if she wanted to stay, but she said "no" and shut the door.

In relation to the sexual assault charge Mr Jackson also faces, the woman told the court: "I think Stuart was finished. He might have been standing up at the time and I was on my back on the bed when Paddy pushed my knees apart and literally tried to get his whole hand up me. He wouldn't stop."

Blaine McIlroy

The prosecution claims Paddy and Stuart's friend, Blane McIlory, also walked in after sending Paddy a text message asking about the possibility of a threesome.

In relation to his entrance, the complainant said: "The door opened again. It was Blane McIlroy. He was completely naked holding his penis in his hands.

"He was masturbating or something and I thought this is not happening again so I got off the bed immediately and grabbed my clothes."

She claims Blane was blocking her exit and said "you fucked the other guys, why won't you fuck me?" She said his stance and demeanour were "so aggressive".

"It was at that point my fight instinct kicked in and there wasn't a chance I was going to let this happen again," she said.

As she was leaving, she told the court she remembered shouting "how many times does it take for a girl to say no before it sinks in?".

Rory Harrison

After running downstairs and leaving the house, she said she realised she'd left her phone in the house so she went back in for it and ran straight back out.

She said Rory Harrison followed her out and said he would take her home in a taxi. She said she was an "absolute mess" in the taxi.

"I was crying and said something like 'it shouldn't have happened to a girl like me' ... I was very upset and actually very grateful to Rory.

"He couldn't have done enough for me. He hadn't laid a finger on me, wouldn't accept money and walked me to the door. I have no complaint with Rory Harrison.

"He asked me for my number at some point and messaged me saying to keep my chin up.

"The next morning he sent me another message and then asked me if I was okay and I said I wasn't and put it in black and white that what happened the night before was not consensual."

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