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Ireland rugby international denies rape allegation

An Ireland rugby player accused of raping a woman said he would have “completely freaked out” if a girl left his house crying.

Paddy Jackson, 26, who plays for Ulster, took the stand at Belfast Crown Court as his defence team opened their case in which he denies rape and sexual assault.

Teammate Stuart Olding, 24, from Belfast, is also charged with raping the same woman who had been in the VIP area of a Belfast nightclub and went to an after-party at Jackson’s home in June 2016.

Two other men are charged in relation to the same case: Rory Harrison, 24, from Belfast, is accused of withholding information and perverting the course of justice; and Blane McIlroy, 26, is charged with exposure.

Jackson, also from Belfast, told the court: “The last thing I know I would want is anyone upset. The last thing I would want is a girl crying and leaving my house. I would have completely freaked out.

“I would have gone to help her. If I had known she was upset I would have tried to contact her.

“The last thing I would ever want is having someone upset. For fear of this. I would be aware stuff like this happens.

“I just went to bed. I had no idea that she was upset.”

Stuart Olding is accused alongside Paddy Jackson of raping the same woman
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Stuart Olding is also accused of rape

Jackson has spent almost two hours in the witness box over the past six weeks.

Answering questions from senior defence counsel Brendan Kelly QC, he said he did not have intercourse with the woman but did engage in a number of consensual sex acts.

The court heard that co-accused Olding, who also denies rape, walked in while the woman was on top of Jackson “performing oral sex”.

“He came over and there was an interaction between them. Her attention went from me to Stuart,” Jackson said.

The court was told that intercourse did not happen because the complainant asked for a condom and Jackson “couldn’t find one” in the bedroom wardrobe.

Jackson was also asked about some blood which was present and whether he believed it was associated with pain.

He replied: “I would have stopped. I would have asked her if she was okay, tried to comfort her. If there was any pain I would have tried to help her.”

More from Northern Ireland

All four men deny the charges against them.

The trial was only expected to last five weeks but is currently in its seventh week.

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