Prison officers saved the life of paedophile Liam Adams after he had a heart attack in Maghaberry, it can be revealed.
The brother of Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams "died" in his cell, according to sources – but was revived by quick-thinking staff who used a defibrillator on him.
Adams is serving a 16-year sentence for raping his daughter Aine when she was a child.
Sources told the Belfast Telegraph that another prisoner raised the alarm last Tuesday when Adams suddenly "hit the deck".
One source added: "He was proper dead." Officers administered chest compressions until an ambulance arrived and nurses took over.
He was rushed to hospital, where he remained in recovery until being discharged on Friday. Adams has been held in Martin House in maximum-security Maghaberry HMP since his sentencing by Judge Corinne Philpott QC at Belfast Crown Court last year.
The unit houses prisoners under protection from other inmates, and he is understood to have been threatened by fellow prisoners a number of times.
Others held at Martin House include notorious killers Robert Black, Barry McCarney and Trevor Hamilton.
Adams, from Bernagh Drive in west Belfast, is expected to serve half his sentence in prison.
A jury found him guilty of a string of sexual assaults against his daughter Aine Dahlstrom (nee Adams), who waived her right to anonymity. The abuse took place over five years between 1977 and 1981 when Mrs Dahlstrom (40) was aged between four and nine.
During the two-week trial in October, he denied the charges, but was found guilty on all 10 counts – three charges of rape, four counts of indecent assault and three counts of gross indecency. In January, the Court Service confirmed he had lodged appeal papers against both conviction and sentence.
That month it also emerged he was refusing to eat food in a protest against new visiting arrangements at Maghaberry.
Both the Prison Service and Gerry Adams' spokesman declined to comment on the heart attack.
Sex abuse allegations against Liam Adams were made public when his daughter Aine Dahlstrom took part in a 2009 TV documentary. Within days, her father fled to the Republic amid claims he would not receive a fair trial in Northern Ireland.
He was handed over to the PSNI at the border in November 2011 after he lost a lengthy and expensive extradition battle. The first trial opened in April last year but collapsed due to legal reasons. During this trial, Mrs Dahlstrom's uncle, Gerry Adams, was called as a prosecution witness. Liam Adams was convicted after a second trial last October.