Family of Liam Adams to commission report into his death

Child rapist died from pancreatic cancer in a hospice in 2019 after being moved from jail

Liam Adams: was serving a 16-year sentence for the rape and sexual assault of his daughter, Aine Dahlstrom, when he died. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

The family of Liam Adams is to commission an independent expert to examine the circumstances of his death ahead of his inquest, a coroner has been told.

The sex offender brother of former Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams died from pancreatic cancer in a hospice in 2019.

The 63-year-old had been moved from Maghaberry Prison, where he was serving a 16-year sentence for the rape and sexual assault of his daughter, Aine Dahlstrom, who waived her right to anonymity.

Last week, Northern Ireland’s Prisoner Ombudsman found there had been no missed or delayed diagnosis of his cancer.

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Lesley Carroll’s investigation was prompted by concerns raised about Adams’ care by his family.

Ms Carroll said she accepted the findings of an independent clinical reviewer, who concluded that he had received “appropriate clinical care”.

The inquest proceedings had been on hold until publication of the report.

They resumed on Tuesday with a preliminary hearing at Belfast Coroner’s Court.

A lawyer for the family told coroner Maria Dougan that the family intends to commission an expert.

“On behalf of the next of kin it is anticipated we will instruct an expert,” said Paul Burns.

Mr Burns said the expert will need to secure access to Adams’ medical notes and records in order to prepare a report, and that the family will be seeking legal aid to fund the independent assessment.

Aiden Corrigan, representing the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust, which provides medical services in Maghaberry, said the trust will reserve its position on whether it will also need to commission an expert pending the findings of the report compiled on behalf of the Adams family.

Counsel for the coroner Mark Reel said the expert report compiled on behalf of the Prisoner Ombudsman will be circulated to those involved in the inquest hearing.

He said the Coroners Service does not intend to commission its own expert.

The short hearing also focused on issues around the disclosure of files relating to Adams’ treatment and death to all the parties participating in the inquest.

Ms Dougan said it is too early to be in a position to set a date for the full inquest.

“I hope to be in a position to list this for hearing at the next preliminary hearing,” she said.

The next hearing will take place on December 14th.