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Paddy Jackson: 'I will always regret the events of that evening'

Jackson’s statement comes over a week after he was acquitted of the rape and sexual assault of a woman.

RUGBY PLAYER PADDY Jackson has released a statement saying that he is “ashamed” that a young woman left his home in a distressed state and apologising for how he engaged in a group chat in WhatsApp.

Jackson’s statement comes over a week after he was acquitted of the rape and sexual assault of a woman at his home in Belfast on Tuesday 28 June 2016.

The complainant – a now 21-year-old female student – alleged she was raped from behind by Paddy Jackson, and during this attack, she was forced to perform oral sex on his teammate Stuart Olding, in the early morning of 28 June 2016.

Jackson and Olding both denied the rape, while Jackson denied a further charge of sexual assault.

The woman also claimed that another man – Blane McIlroy (26) – entered the bedroom, naked and with his penis in his hand, demanding sex.

McIlroy denied exposure while a fourth man,  25-year-old Rory Harrison, was charged with and denied perverting the course of justice and withholding information in the aftermath of the incident.

All four were found not guilty of all charges against them by the jury of eight men and three women.

In a statement today to Press Association, Jackson said that criticism of his behaviour in the wake of the verdict was “fully justified”.

The statement in full reads:

“I am ashamed that a young woman who was a visitor to my home left in a distressed state. This was never my intention 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.
My departure from these values has caused understandable public anger and I am resolutely committed to returning to those principles.
The trial was the subject of intense media and public focus over the course of the nine weeks – due to the high profile nature of the defendants.

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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