Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 April 2014

Liam Adams: Tears of vindication as 'guilty' rang out

Aine Dahlstrom receives a hug from a well-wisher at the end of the trial

Aine Dahlstrom sat at the back of the court trembling and holding hands with family members as the jury foreman rose to deliver the verdict.

As the word "guilty" rang out 10 times in response to all the charges of rape and sexual abuse, she started to cry.

The tears of vindication came 27 years after she first told her mother and then police about the horrific catalogue of abuse she had faced at the hands of Liam Adams.

Her relatives hugged Aine and each other in relief that her ordeal was finally over.

Across the courtroom, Liam Adams' second wife Bronagh started crying. She had kissed him just before he walked into the dock for the verdict.

Liam Adams himself showed no emotion. Seconds earlier he had sat confidently outside the court, chatting about football and pontificating on whether Celtic would win later that night.

When Aine gave graphic evidence earlier during the trial about how he had raped her, Liam Adams had closed his eyes.

She had described the horror of being forced to perform a sex act on him: "I couldn't breathe. I was roasting. I could smell the drink off him. I felt like he had power over me," she told the jury.

Sometimes, so painful were the memories, that Aine spoke of herself in the third party.

And he was never "my daddy" or "my father". He was always "Liam Adams", showing the emotional detachment she had been forced to make many years ago.

When Adams took the stand the nasty, vicious, bullying streak that Aine experienced as a terrified child shone through despite his best efforts.

He crudely denied his daughter and her mother had ever confronted him about his abuse during a meeting in Buncrana in 1987.

Only his brother Gerry had spoken, he said.

Neither Aine nor Sally "had opened their mouths".

He protested that he had been a good father to Aine and her sister Sinead, but his whole tone and demeanour when giving evidence belied everything he said.

In the witness box, Liam Adams proved to be his own worst enemy.

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