Paddy Jackson apologises for "degrading and offensive" WhatsApp messages

The texts came to light during the recent Belfast rape trial

Paddy Jackson apologises for "degrading and offensive" WhatsApp messages

Ireland and Ulster rugby player Paddy Jackson leaving Belfast Crown Court after he was found not guilty of raping a woman at a property in south Belfast in June 2016 | Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire/PA Images

Paddy Jackson has apologised unreservedly for "degrading and offensive" WhatsApp messages which came to light during the recent Belfast rape trial.

He also apologised for betraying the values of his family.

Paddy Jackson was acquitted of all charges against him.

During the trial, several text messages became public in a group between Jackson and others.

In a statement to the Press Association, Mr Jackson said: "I was ashamed that a young woman who was a visitor to my home left in a distressed state.

"This was never my intension and I will always regret the events of that evening.

"I am also truly sorry for engaging in a WhatsApp group chat which was degrading and offensive and I apologise unreservedly for this.

"The criticism of my behaviour is fully justified and I know I have betrayed the values of my family and those of the wider public.

"Following the trial I have taken time to reflect with my family on the values that were such an integral part of my upbringing, the most important of which is respect.

The 26-year-old added: "My departure from these values has caused understandable public anger and I am resolutely committed to returning to those principles".