Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Liam Adams case: Brother of Gerry Adams allegedly confessed to sexually abusing his eldest daughter court hears

Liam Adams, brother of Sinn Fein President Gerry, arrives at Belfast Laganside Court
Liam Adams, brother of Sinn Fein President Gerry, arrives at Belfast Laganside Court

A brother of Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams allegedly confessed to sexually abusing his eldest daughter, the trial against him heard today.

Sinead Rossbotham (33), his second daughter, claimed that Liam Adams made the admission during a meeting at her aunt's Twinbrook home in 2002.

"I asked him, did he abuse her, and he replied, 'yeah that happened'," Belfast Crown Court was told.

Adams (57) from Bernagh Drive in west Belfast, denies 10 counts of sex abuse including rape, indecent assault and gross indecency against his daughter Aine Adams - who has waived her right to anonymity - between 1977 and 1983.

Giving evidence from the witness box of courtroom number 14, Mrs Rossbotham told the jury of six men and six women that her father had never been part of her life.

They established contact in 2002 and during their first encounter Mrs Rossbotham raised the issue of the alleged abuse against her sister.

"He was horrified, shocked that I was asking this question," she said.

She claimed her father said it was an issue for him and Aine to discuss.

"We'll settle our own demons in time," she alleged her father said.

During cross-examination, defence barrister Eilis McDermott suggested Mrs Rossbotham did not really believe her father was a sex abuser.

Photographs showing her with Adams, his second wife Bronagh and their two daughters at their home in Andersonstown Park were shown to the jury.

"The truth, I suggest, was that you did not suspect him of being a sex offender at all," Ms McDermott said.

Earlier, the court heard evidence from Sarah Campbell (57) who was married to Adams at the time of the alleged abuse.

She recalled travelling to Buncrana, Co Donegal, to confront her ex-husband, accompanied by Sinn Fein president and former West Belfast MP Gerry Adams as well as Aine.

At the house, she claimed to have overheard a heated conversation between the two brothers in which Gerry Adams threatened violence.

"Gerry said, 'if you are not telling the truth I'll hit you with a hammer'," Mrs Campbell said in a statement which was read to the court.

The mother-of-five also told how she feared that police were trying to recruit her as an informer.

She claimed officers from the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) quizzed her about paramilitary activity and the associates of Liam Adams when she went to police in January 1987.

"I felt that I was getting made a police tout for intelligence; that they were not pursuing what Liam Adams had done to my daughter; that it was not about Aine any more and that they were trying to get things out of me that were not about my daughter," she said.

She refused to answer intelligence-related questions put to her by male police officers, the court heard.

A social worker visited Mrs Campbell's home in New Barnsley with a message that police wanted to meet her in Belfast city centre, it was revealed.

She said the social worker advised her not to meet the detectives and afterwards Mrs Campbell decided not to proceed with the sex abuse case.

"After the lady social worker came out I had no doubt I had to cut off contact with the police for my own safety," she told the court.

The trial continues.

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