The four rugby stars at the centre of one of one of Ireland's most high profile trials have today been acquitted of all charges.

Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding had been accused of raping a 19-year-old woman at a house party in Belfast in June 2016. Both of them had been found not guilty.

Blane McIlroy has been found not guilty of exposure.

Rory Harrison, who was in contact with the victim after the alleged assault, was found not guilty of withholding information and perverting the course of justice.

It took just under four hours for the jury of eight men and three women to reach their unanimous verdict on all counts.

The trial took nine weeks.

Since the delivery of the verdict just after noon today, #IBelieveHer has become the number one trending hashtag on Twitter.

Hundreds have channeled their frustration into doing what they can to assist victims of sexual assault, including donating to charities that work with victims.

Twitter user @nicoleglennon added: “And people wonder why rape is so underreported. #IBelieveHer”

Others have made the argument that as the jury heard all of the evidence and were not relying on the media’s narrative of events, the jury’s decision should be final.

If you have been affected by this article, local support services are available:


Donegal Sexual Abuse & Rape Crisis Centre – Freephone: 1800 44 88 44

For information about Sexual Assault Treatment Units, visit:

Donegal Women’s Centre: Phone: (074) 912 4985