Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Liam Adams: The quest for justice that took 36 years

Liam Adams arrives at court to hear the verdict

IT took Aine Adams 36 years and two traumatic public trials to get justice for the sex crimes her father perpetrated against her.

She was only four when the younger brother of Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams, Liam (58), began to abuse her around March 1977, escalating to rape one year later when she was five in May, 1978.

He continued to rape and sexually abuse his eldest daughter most days over the next six years until March 1983, when it stopped when she was aged around nine.

At one point Adams abused his daughter – who claimed that she felt like "his wife" at times – while her mother was in hospital having his son Conor.

Aine's timeline to truth has unfolded over an agonising 26 year span until yesterday's 11:1 jury verdict on Adams' guilt.

In January, 1987, Aine, then 14, accompanied by her mother, finally got the courage to speak to police about what her father did.

She withdrew her complaint the next month as she felt that police were more interested in the republican activities of her father and uncle Gerry and in March of that year, she spoke to other family members about the abuse.

She, her mother Sarah Campbell and uncle Gerry confronted Liam Adams at a house in Buncrana, Co Donegal.

Adams denied any wrongdoing, but in a television interview in 2009, Gerry Adams claimed to have believed the teenager.

It wasn't until 2000 when the brothers took a walk in Dundalk that Adams admitted to Gerry one incident of sexual abuse.

It's understood that for several years after this incident Liam Adams worked on in youth centres in west Belfast and Dundalk.

Aine Adams returned to Belfast from Scotland in 2006 to have the case against her father reopened. This led to her father finally being interviewed by police in November, 2007.

He denied all charges and so began a complicated and emotionally-charged legal battle.

Aine went public with the sex abuse allegations on a UTV Insight programme when it aired in December, 2009 and during this time there were further legal wrangles, leading to Adams fleeing to the Republic of Ireland.

But after a lengthy extradition case, Adams was handed over to the PSNI in November, 2011.

Liam Adams stood trial for the rape and abuse of his daughter Aine in April earlier this year.

However, the trial sensationally folded for legal reasons only to restart on September 9 and jurors yesterday passed the guilty verdict

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