Paddy Jackson Stuart Olding rugby rape trial hears alleged victim feared seeing men accused in public
A woman who alleges she was raped by two Ulster rugby players reported them to police because âshe didnât want this to happen to anyone else.â
Over a two day period she had been urged to speak to the PSNI, initially by friends and then a doctor who had examined her, Belfast Live reports.
But the then 19-year-old had been reluctant, saying she did not want her family to find out and feared a backlash from Ulster Rugby over bringing the reputation of top players into question.
One friend texted her saying: âIt doesnât matter what someoneâs profession is, rape is rape.â
And the doctor told her, âNobody is above the law,â before saying, âthey should be reported for the crime.â
S he finally agreed to attend a police station on June 30, 2016, after suffering a panic attack over concerns of bumping into the two accused in Belfast.
The witness described the scene after she had arranged to take her friend to the Rowan sexual health clinic a day after the alleged incident in June 2016.
The witness told the court: âShe had a largeish hold-all bag with a plastic bag inside with her clothes from the night before.
âIt was the first time Iâd seen her face-to-face. We both looked at each other and I asked if she was OK and she burst into tears.
âShe appeared emotionally upset and she looked physically unwell.
"Iâd never seen her cry before.
"She is emotionally a very private person.
"She was very emotional and Iâd never seen her like that before.
âShe explaine d she wasnât OK.
"I asked her if there was a chance she could be pregnant but there wasnât because she had been to the Brook clinic.
"I learned later she had had the morning-after pill.â
The women were introduced to a doctor and an examination was arranged.
Her friend told the court: âTo preserve her dignity I said I would step outside and stepped into to the disabled toilet in the examination room.
âI could tell she was in pain but I canât remember if that was from something she said or noises that I heard of discomfort.
âWhen I came out I saw blood on the table she had been examined on and there was a bag with a bloodied tampon and a bag with her clothes in it.
âThe doctor urged her to report it to the police and she explained she had concerns with that.
âNo names were included, no names were given in expressing her concern but she did say one of the people involved was publicly known and that made her nervous about going to the police.
âThe doctor said, âNobody is above the law,â and he said that they should be reported for the crime.
âI took her home and told her Iâd like to see her tomorrow and do something, I wanted to provide emotional support for her going forward.â
The women went to the cinema in Belfast the following day but the complainant suffered what appeared to be a panic attack and left.
The witness told the court she had arranged to go to the cinema with the complainant.
She said: âIâd wanted to help take her mind off things but she became panicked and flustered for fear of seeing Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding in the vic inity of the cinema.
âShe didnât want to be there - we had bought our tickets.
"I urged her to go to the police and report the incident.
"She voiced the same concerns from the day before but then realised it wasnât right because she didnât want this to happen to anyone else.â
The women contacted police and were advised to go to the PSNI station on Lisburn Road, South Belfast.
The witness said: âWe drove over and went inside and reported the incident. I sat in the interview room with her.â
Asked in cross-examination if the alleged victim had presented any physical injuries, the witness agreed she had seen no evidence but told the court the complainant had been wearing a long sleeved top.
She added: âShe was sitting gingerly because of the discomfort she was having. She was very uncomfortable.â
Earlier an other friend of the alleged victim told the court she had begged her to ignore the rugby playersâ profession and report them to the police, saying to her ârape is rapeâ.
After receiving a text from the complainant saying she had been raped, she texted her back saying: âIâm literally begging you to go to the hospital/police.â
She responded: âI think I will go get screened and the morning after but Iâll not go to the police - itâs not worth it.
"I donât like the PSNI and mentioning Ulster, things could get messy.â
Her friend advised her: âJust pretend you donât know who they are.
"Donât bring up the Ulster team, bring up names. What they do is irrelevant.â
Asked in cross examination by Brendan Kelly QC if she would encourage her friend to lie to the police, the witness replied: âI would never have told my friend to lie - never.
"The meaning behind it was it doesnât matter what someoneâs profession is, rape is rape.â
She said she advised her friend: âDonât acknowledge that they play rugby, donât bring it up, itâs irrelevant.â
A PSNI constable who took the alleged victimâs first police statement said the conversation had been âvery difficult.â
He said: âShe was very reluctant to give me the details of what had happened and if she was prepared to take the matter any further.
âHer reluctance was that she told me at the time these are high profile people and she initially wouldnât identify them to me.
âShe told me she had been at a party and didnât mention any names.
" She told me she had been to Ollieâs night club.
âMy stepdaughter had been out and had seen some rugby players than night.
"I was a ware the Ulster Rugby socialised there and I suspected it might be Ulster.
âI asked were the people involved rugby players and she said they were.
"Initially she did not want to name the people but she named Paddy Jackson, Stuart Olding and Blane McIlory.
âShe said she was concerned about publicity and absolutely did not want her family to know about it.â
Four men have been charged in connection with the allegations.
Paddy Jackson, 26, from Belfastâs Oakleigh Park, is charged with one count of rape and one count of sexual assault. Stuart Olding, 24, from Ardenlee Street, Belfast, is also charged with rape.
Blane McIlroy, 26, of Royal Lodge Road, Belfast, is charged with one count of exposure.
Rory Harrison, 25, of Manse Road, Belfast is charged with perverting the course of justice and withholding information.
Each of the men deny all charges against them.
The trial continues.Source: Google News