Liam Adams convicted of sexually abusing his daughter

‘I can now begin my life at 40 and lay to rest’ the memories of abuse, says Áine Adams

Áine Adams has stated that she can now begin her life at 40 after her father Liam Adams was yesterday convicted of sexually abusing her over a period from when she was four until she was nine.

At Belfast Crown Court Liam Adams (58) from Bernagh Drive in west Belfast was found guilty of three charges of rape, three of gross indecency and four of indecent assault against his daughter. It was alleged the assaults began in 1977 and ended in 1983.

The jury found Adams, who is brother of the Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams, guilty on all 10 counts by a majority decision of 11 to 1. The jury took just short of 5½ hours to reach its decision.

Judge Corinne Philpott remanded Adams in custody pending sentencing in four weeks' time.

Cried quietly
As the jury foreman pronounced guilty convictions on all 10 charges Áine Adams cried quietly and hugged members of her family in court.

Outside the court, a PSNI officer read out a statement on behalf of Áine Adams with Ms Adams standing beside her and members of her family in the background. “I do not see this verdict as a victory, nor a celebration, as it has taken its toll and has caused hurt, heartache and anguish to all those involved,” she said.

“I can now begin my life at 40 and lay to rest the memories of a five-year-old girl who was abused,” she added.

The officer said that Áine Adams and her family wanted some privacy, but that a family statement would be issued on a later occasion.

Claims withdrawn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

She repeated the abuse 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. She 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 because of her concerns for a young daughter Liam Adams had in a second relationship. The trial 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.

When Gerry Adams confronted him there 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.

Gerry Moriarty

Gerry Moriarty

Gerry Moriarty is the former Northern editor of The Irish Times