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'She is causing so much trouble for the lads' - jury hears of text messages between Belfast rape trial accused

The mobile messages of Stuart Olding, Rory Harrison, and Blane McIlroy were perused today at Belfast Crown Court.

pjimage Blane McIlory (l) and Rory Harrison Source: Getty

A SERIES OF messages between two friends in the aftermath of an alleged rape involving two Ulster Rugby players allege “the cops went straight to Les Kiss”, a jury heard today.

The reference to the then Ulster rugby head coach was made by Rory Harrison to his friend Blane McIlroy (26) following the arrest of rugby players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding in June 2016.

The sporting duo were arrested on 30 June 2016 – two days after a woman claimed she was raped from behind by Jackson (26) whilst being forced to perform oral sex on his teammate Stuart Olding (24).

Both men have denied rape, and claim any sexual activity in the bedroom of Jackson’s Oakleigh Park home was consensual, while Jackson denies a further charge of sexual assault.

In a series of text messages between Harrison (25) and McIlroy on the afternoon and evening of 30 June, the friends discuss the arrests of Jackson and Olding, with McIlory asking Harrison if he knew the complainant’s name.

Harrison tells McIloy her name, says “hopefully it will be thrown out” and tells his friend she is “just a silly girl who has done something then regretted it”. Harrison also messages “she is causing so much trouble for the lads”.

In the series of messages, Harrison also tells McIlroy “the cops went straight to Les Kiss, which is f*****g ridiculous”. He also texted: “this is ridiculous. Surely this is all going to get dropped.”

‘Leave your phone’

In another message to McIlroy, Harrison also said “When Les rang Jacko, Bryn called Stu – just said go to the station” – in a reference again to Les Kiss, and to the Ulster Rugby team coach Bryn Cunningham.

Later in the day, when police had been in touch with McIlory, he messaged Harrison to inform him he has to go to Musgrave Street station. Harrison replied: “I’d say leave your phone.”

The jury – which is now down to eight men and three women after a juror was discharged under medical grounds earlier this week – were informed of other mobile traffic on the morning and afternoon of Tuesday, 28 June.

While the complainant was telling one friend “so I got raped by 3 Ulster f*****g scum”, and saying she wouldn’t go to the police because “they’ll say it was consensual… I was up for it, stupid little girl now regretting it”, the men she has accused of attacking her were involved in a WhatsApp conversation.

In this group chat, Olding says “we are all top shaggers”, Jackson comments “there was a lot of spitroast going on last night lads” with Olding likening what happened to “a merry-go-round at a carnival”.

In a separate WhatsApp conversation with another friend, when Olding is asked at 10.10am on 28 June – just hours after the incident – “how was she?”, he answered at 10.57am “she was very very loose”.

It also emerged during today’s evidence that at 1.08pm that day, McIlroy posted a picture on a WhatsApp group called The Juicers which depicted him and three girls who attended the afterparty in Jackson’s.

The image depicts McIlroy and the three friends either sitting on his knee or next to him. He captioned the image ‘Love Belfast Sluts’. And on 2.47pm that day, he send another WhatsApp message to a friend which said: “Pumped a bird with Jacko on Monday. Roasted her.”

McIlroy has been charged with and denies exposure, while Harrison is fighting a charge of perverting the course of justice, and withholding information.

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Also called to give evidence during the fifth week of the trial was a detective constable from the Rape Crime Unit, based at Ladas Drive.

Confirming to the court she was the investigating officer, she was asked by Jackson’s barrister, Brendan Kelly QC, about an ‘achieving best evidence’ interview which was conducted with the complainant on the afternoon of 30 June 2016.

She confirmed that at the end of the interview, the complainant told her there was something she had forgotten to tell her about the incident – namely someone had walked into the bedroom.

‘The best evidence’

The policewoman was asked about this witness, and why the complainaint wasn’t questioned there and then about them.

When asked by Mr Kelly “why did you not go straight back in” to interview her again, the investigating officer said the woman was upset.

The DC said: “She had already conducted a lengthy interview. I felt it better she went home, had some time and if she had more than just that to tell us, we would conduct a further interview.”

And when she was asked by Kelly “is timing not key to an enquiry of this type?”, the officer said such interviews were “not about rushing things” but were “about taking our time and trying to achieve the best evidence we can”.

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Ashleigh McDonald

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