Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 25 October 2014

Adams guilty of abusing daughter

Liam Adams is accused of 10 counts of child sex abuse against his daughter Aine

A younger brother of Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams has been found guilty of a string of child sex abuse charges.

Liam Dominic Adams, 58, from Bernagh Drive in west Belfast, was convicted of raping and sexually assaulting his daughter, Aine, over a six-year period between 1977 and 1983 when she was aged between four and nine.

Bespectacled Adams, who was wearing a grey suit, cream shirt and blue tie, showed no emotion as the guilty verdicts were returned.

Remanding him in custody Judge Corinne Philpott said: "Take him down."

The jury of nine men and three women had heard more than two weeks of evidence at Belfast Crown Court.

They began deliberating at 11.05am this morning and took almost four hours to reach guilty verdicts with a majority of 11 to one.

There was complete silence as the jury foreman read out guilty verdicts on all of the 10 charges to the packed court.

Adams, who walks with the aid of a stick and used a court hearing aid to follow proceedings, stood between two prison officers in the dock with his hands clasped tightly.

Aine Adams, who was surrounded by family members, wept and clutched her younger sister Sinead for support.

On the other side of the public gallery, Adams's second wife Bronagh and their daughter Claire, who gave evidence in his defence, also cried.

Adams nodded to them as he was led to the cells.

There was complete silence as the jury foreman read out guilty verdicts on all of the 10 charges to the packed court.Adams, who walks with the aid of a stick and used a court hearing aid to follow proceedings, stood between two prison officers in the dock with his hands clasped tightly in front on top of the crutch.Aine Adams, who was surrounded by family members wept and clutched her younger sister Sinead for support.On the other side of the public gallery Adams' second wife Bronagh and their daughter Claire who gave evidence in his defence, also cried.Adams nodded to them as he was led to the cells. Mf

During the trial Aine Adams gave graphic details of the abuse, which started when she was aged four.

The first time she recalled being raped was while her mother was in hospital giving birth to her younger brother Conor in 1977.

In another incident she was raped by her father at a flat on Belfast's Antrim Road while her brother was asleep in the bed beside her.

Adams, who was a heavy drinker, also forced his daughter to perform sex acts.

In a statement read out by a police officer outside the court, Ms Adams said she could finally begin to move on after a long and hard road to achieve justice.

"I do not see this verdict as a victory or a celebration as it has taken its toll and has caused hurt, heartache and anguish for all those involved.

"I can now begin my life at 40 and lay to rest the memory of the five-year-old girl who was abused," she said.

The allegations were first made public when Ms Adams took part in a television documentary in 2009.

A short time later, Gerry Adams revealed his father Gerry Snr, a veteran IRA man, had physically and sexually abused members of his family.

Within days of the sex abuse scandal hitting the headlines, Liam Adams fled to the Republic claiming he could not receive a fair trial in Northern Ireland. He handed himself in to police in Co Sligo but could not be detained because the Garda officers did not have the correct documentation.

He was eventually handed over to the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) at the border in November 2011 after losing a lengthy and expensive extradition battle.

The trial opened in April this year but collapsed due to legal reasons and the jury was discharged.

At that time, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams was called as a prosecution witness. He told the court he confronted his brother about the allegations during a meeting in Buncrana, Co Donegal, in 1987 and Liam Adams had denied the abuse.

He then revealed his brother later confessed while they were out walking together in the rain in Dundalk, Co Louth, in 2000.

Gerry Adams was not called as a prosecution witness for the latest trial, which re-opened before a new jury panel last month.

In her statement given outside Laganside court complex, Ms Adams thanked the media for helping her to tell her story.

She said : "I would like to give all my family a special thanks. Without their love, support and understanding I would not be here today."

She also expressed gratitude to the PSNI's public protection unit and the Public Prosecution Service.

"I would now ask for some privacy for my family to reflect on recent trying times," she said.

Adams is due to be sentenced next month.

In a statement issued tonight Gerry Adams described the trial of his brother as tough.

The Sinn Fein president said: "This has been a difficult and distressing ordeal for all my family and for my niece Aine.

"I would ask the media to respect our right to space and privacy.

"I thank the many people who have sent messages of support and solidarity."

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