Belfast Telegraph

As paedophile dad Liam Adams gets 16 years, daughter Aine says it is all too little, too late

BY SUZANNE BREEN

The paedophile brother of Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams will remain behind bars until at least 2021 after he was sentenced for a horrific catalogue of sexual offences against his daughter Aine.

In a statement, Aine Dahlstrom said she was relieved that “this nightmare seems at last to be coming to an end”.

She welcomed her father's conviction and sentencing but said it was still “much too little, too late” after all she had gone through.

Liam Adams (58), of Bearnagh Drive in west Belfast, was jailed for 16 years at Belfast Crown Court yesterday for three counts of rape, four counts of indecent assault and three counts of gross indecency.

He will be eligible for 50% remission on his sentence, reducing it to eight years. He will be a pensioner when he is released and will then have to spend another two years on probation.

Adams will be placed on the sex offenders' register for life and banned from working with young people.

He was convicted by an 11-1 majority jury verdict two months ago.

Adams looked remarkably relaxed as he appeared in court for sentencing and far less tense than he had looked during his two-week trial in September.

When the judge read out details of his abuse of Aine, he shook his head.

As he was led away after sentencing he smiled and laughed with prison staff.

His second wife Bronagh and their daughter Claire, who supported him at the trial, weren't present yesterday for sentencing.

As her father was sentenced, Mrs Dahlstrom (40) showed no emotion.

She sat silently in the public gallery beside her husband Tony and her sister Sinead.

Her father's sexual abuse, which began when she was just four years old, continued for five years from 1977 until 1983.

Judge Corinne Philpott referred to two incidents, when her father had indecently touched Aine when she was four and another a year later when he had raped her, as being the most serious offences.

She said all Aine had ever wanted was “an acknowledgement from her father that what he had done to her during childhood was wrong”. The judge added: “He has always denied her this acknowledgement and continues to do so.

“However, she now at least knows that the jury must have found her evidence compelling as they believed her.”

In her victim impact statement, Aine described how the abuse had affected her life. She said she had stopped attending school as she didn't “have the concentration to listen and learn in class”. She also said she became “over-protective of her own children”.

In recent years, she experienced anxiety attacks and had to go to hospital after suffering chest pains during the trial.

Judge Philpott said Adams had been guilty of “the greatest breach of trust imaginable where a father, instead of caring for and protecting his daughter, himself abused her”.

She continued: “He used this child for his own sexual gratification whenever he had the opportunity when her mother wasn't present”.

A statement released by Aine's solicitor, Joe Rice, said she was relieved “that this nightmare” seemed to be ending.

“This case has been ongoing with the police since 1986, and more recently has involved extradition proceedings in Dublin and two lengthy trials at Laganside Crown Court.

“This has put herself and her family and friends under the most enormous strain. It is still much too little, too late,” the solicitor said.

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