This paper addresses the nonlinear stress-strain response in glass fibre non-crimp fabric reinforced vinylester composite laminates subjected to in-plane tensile loading. The nonlinearity is shown to be a combination of brittle and plastic failure. It is argued that the shift from plastic to brittle behaviour in the vinylester is caused by the state of stress triaxiality caused by the interaction between fibre and vinylester. A model combining damage and plasticity is calibrated and evaluated using data from extensive experimental testing. The onset of damage is predicted using the Puck failure criterion, and the evolution of damage is calibrated from the observed softening in plies loaded in transverse tension. Shear loading beyond linear elastic response is observed to result in irreversible strains. A yield criterion is implemented for shear deformation. A strain hardening law is fitted to the stress-strain response observed in shear loaded plies. Experimental results from a selection of laminates with different layups are used to verify the numerical models. A complete set of model parameters for predicting elastic behaviour, strength and post failure softening is presented for glass fibre non-crimped fabric reinforced vinylester. The predicted behaviour from using these model parameters are shown to be in good agreement with experimental results.