Cover-up allegations ‘completely untrue’, rape accused tells court

Stuart Olding has dismissed as “completely untrue” allegations that he and his friends tried to cover up drunken sexual activity with a woman who has accused him of rape.

The Ulster and Ireland rugby player also batted away prosecution suggestions that he had gone “way beyond what was acceptable”, insisting everything had been consensual.

Olding, 24, from Ardenlee Street in Belfast, denies raping a woman at a house party on June 28, 2016.

His team mate and co-accused Paddy Jackson, 26, from Oakleigh Park in the city, also denies raping the same woman – as well as a charge of sexual assault.

Olding (pictured) spent several hours giving evidence to the jury of eight men and three women at Belfast Crown Court.

During cross examination by prosecutor Toby Hedworth QC, he was asked: “Is the reality that you have been engaged with your friends in trying to cover up what happened on a drunken night where you, Paddy Jackson and, Blane McIlroy in a wholly different way, went way beyond what was acceptable?”

Olding answered: “No, that’s completely untrue. Everything that happened that night was consensual.”

The court was told Olding had “received” oral sex from the complainant, while Jackson was at the other end of the bed.

He could not see what, if anything, Jackson was doing.

“I remember Paddy just sitting at the edge of the bed, to be honest my focus was not on Paddy. He could have been doing stuff at the bottom, I don’t know.”

Mr Hedworth put it to him: “There’s absolutely nothing to stop you seeing where Paddy Jackson is and what he is doing.”

Olding answered: “I accept that, but I wasn’t looking at Paddy.”

The prosecution barrister also spent some time questioning Olding about his interpretation of “spit roast” – a term the defendant had used in a WhatsApp communication with friends the day after the alleged attack.

The prosecution case is that it involves two men using their penises to penetrate a woman in her vagina and mouth, the court was told.

“On your account, that did not happen,” the barrister suggested.

When asked why he would have used the term, Olding said he had been “boasting” and “exaggerating” to his friends to “make it seem more than what it was”.

Mr Hedworth then quoted another WhatsApp message in which Olding described the activity as “like a merry-go-round at the carnival”.

“That’s not the description of you getting oral sex while Paddy Jackson watched?” he said.

“No, its not,” replied Olding.

The lawyer put it to him: “But they are your words?”

Olding answered: “They are my words, yes.”

Meanwhile, it emerged that Olding had been angered when he learnt that friends Rory Harrison, 25, and Blane McIlroy, 26 – who are also contesting charges connected to the alleged attack, had not disclosed the complainant was distressed or had said what happened was not consensual when they met for lunch the following day.

You must feel rather cross?” asked the barrister.

“Yeah, I would be cross.”

“Furious,” the lawyer probed further.

Olding answered: “Well, yes.”

However, he did not believe the pals had maliciously withheld the information, he said.

Earlier, the court heard how Olding and his friends had been in a cafe ordering food when they were contacted by senior figures from Ulster Rugby telling them to go the police station.

He was arrested shortly after arriving at Musgrave Street PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland) station in Belfast city centre on June 30, 2016.

He had accepted the help of a duty solicitor, but at some point the holding cell door opened and a police officer said Ulster Rugby had sent solicitor Joe Rice to represent him.

Olding, who had only ever had a solicitor to buy a house, accepted Mr Rice’s assistance.

While he was being questioned, police officers searched his home and seized clothing – but not the shirt, jeans, shoes and boxers he had been wearing on the night in question.

Mr Hedworth said: “The police didn’t seize the clothing, I suggest this was because your clothing you had been wearing wasn’t in your flat?”

Olding, replied: “As far as I am aware it was at my flat.”

All four men charged in connection with the alleged rape deny all the charges against them.

The case continues.

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