Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Liam Adams subjected daughter to six-year nightmare of rape and abuse

Liam Adams arrives at court to hear the verdict

A younger brother of Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams has been convicted of raping and abusing his daughter over a six-year period.

A jury at Belfast Crown Court yesterday found Liam Adams guilty on all 10 counts of rape and sexual abuse of his daughter Aine.

The abuse began when she was just four years old in 1977 and continued until 1983. Adams (58), of Bearnagh Drive in west Belfast, who had denied all the charges, was remanded in custody for sentencing on November 5 by Judge Corinne Philpott.

A jury of nine men and three women found Adams guilty by a majority of 11 to one after more than four hours of deliberation.

In a statement read out by a police officer after the verdict, Ms Dahlstrom said: "I do not see this verdict as a victory nor a celebration; it has taken its toll and caused hurt, heartache and anguish. I can now begin my life at 40 and finally lay to rest the memory of the girl who was abused."

During the two-week trial the court heard graphic details of the sexual abuse including how Aine had even been raped when her mother was giving birth in hospital to her brother Conor.

Among those giving evidence for the prosecution were Ms Dahlstrom's mother, Sally Campbell, who told the court how horrified she had been when, as a teenager, Aine had told her that her father had raped her.

Sinead Adams, Ms Dahlstrom's sister, told the court that Liam Adams had confessed to her that he had raped Aine.

Giving evidence on his own behalf, Liam Adams denied he had ever abused Aine. He also said he didn't know why Aine's mother and sister were "inventing" claims.

The jury rejected her father's claims the allegations against him were "absolute rubbish", and his declaration in court that he never raped and sexually abused Aine: "Certainly not... nothing like that ever happened."

Mr Adams' two daughters from his second marriage gave evidence for the defence that he had never acted improperly towards them.

The Sinn Fein president, who gave evidence for the prosecution at the first trial – which was abandoned for legal reasons earlier this year – was not called as a witness this time.

During the first trial in April, Gerry Adams gave supporting evidence for his niece.

His involvement in the earlier trial couldn't be reported during this hearing until after the guilty verdict was handed down.

In his earlier evidence, the former West Belfast MP claimed that, in 2000, while walking in the rain in the border town of Dundalk, his brother Liam confessed to him, but he went on to reject claims that he had also confessed to him when he took Aine and her mother to a meeting in Buncrana, Co Donegal, some years earlier.

Mr Adams never explained why he waited so long to contact the authorities about the abuse.

A short time before delivering their verdicts the jury sent a note into court seeking an explanation as to why the Sinn Fein leader did not appear at this trial.

The note asked why "Gerry Adams has not given evidence in this case as he is such a prominent figure throughout".

Judge Philpott told the jury simply that they should consider the case only on the evidence given to them in court, and not to speculate on any other matters. Shortly afterwards they sent another note telling the court that they had reached majority verdicts in the case.

The Sinn Fein president issued a statement last night following the verdict: "This has been a difficult and distressing ordeal for all my family and for my niece Aine."

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