Liam Adams convicted of rape and assault of daughter

Belfast Crown Court jury reaches majority verdict

Liam Adams, 58, arriving at Belfast Crown Court earlier. Photograph: Paul Faith/PA Wire

Liam Adams, 58, arriving at Belfast Crown Court earlier. Photograph: Paul Faith/PA Wire

Tue, Oct 1, 2013, 18:09

Liam Adams was today convicted of sexually abusing his daughter Áine.

Today in the third week of the trial the jury at Belfast Crown Court convicted Liam Adams (58) from Bernagh Drive in west Belfast of abusing his daughter from when was she aged 4 until she was 9.

Adams was accused of three charges or rape, three of gross indecency and four of indecent assault against his daughter Aine who is now aged 40. It was alleged the assaults began in 1977. He denied the allegations.

The jury found that Adams, who is brother of the Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams, guilty on all counts by a majority decision of 11 to 1. The jury began its deliberations at 11.05 am and announced its verdict shortly before 4.30 pm.

Judge Corinne Philpott is to impose sentence in four weeks time. Adams was remanded in custody.

Outside the court, a PSNI officer with Áine Adams standing beside her and members of her family in the background read out a statement on Ms Adams’ behalf. She said the result was not a “victory or a celebration” but that she could now “begin my life at 40”.

During the trial the court heard that Áine Adams with her mother Sarah (also known as Sally) first went to the RUC with the sexual abuse allegations early in 1987 but that three weeks later she withdrew the claims because she believed some police officers were more interested in Gerry Adams than in her claims.

“Police were more interested in who he was,” Ms Adams told a woman police officer in the interview that was recorded in 2006.

She repeated the allegations to the PSNI 19 years later. The jury was shown a video of evidence Áine Adams gave to police against her father in 2006. Ms Adams also gave live evidence by video link during the trial.

Ms Adams said that she had always wanted Liam Adams to admit the abuse to help her achieve some form of “closure”.

She said she was prompted to make her renewed allegations to the police in 2006 when she was an adult because of her concerns for a young daughter Liam Adams had in a second relationship - his marriage to Sarah was long over at that stage. “I could not take the fact he had a wee daughter,” she said.

She said she was worried about the young girl. “I was doing it more or less to protect his wee daughter,” she said.

The trial also heard that neither this girl nor a second daughter of Liam Adams from his second marriage suffered any abuse from their father.

Áine Adams also told the court that in 1987 she travelled to Buncrana with her mother, Gerry Adams and a driver. Her father was living in second marriage in Co Donegal at the time. When Gerry Adams confronted him about the claims her father denied them, she said.

At a previous trial which was stopped for legal reasons in April this year Gerry Adams said that his brother admitted he had sexually abused Áine Adams. This was during a “walk in the rain” in Dundalk, he said.

Gerry Adams said that during the encounter in Dundalk his brother, while admitting molestation or sexual interference or assault, did not admit rape.