Northern Ireland

Liam Adams jailed for raping and abusing daughter

Liam Adams
Image caption Liam Adams' offences were 'greatest imaginable breach of trust' said the judge

Liam Adams, a brother of Sinn Féin's Gerry Adams, has been jailed for 16 years for raping and abusing his daughter.

He will spend a further two years on probation.

Adams, 58, from Bernagh Drive, Belfast, was convicted of 10 offences in October, including rape and gross indecency, against his daughter, Áine, who waived her right to anonymity.

The judge described the abuse as the "greatest imaginable breach of trust".

She said the evidence clearly established that Adams "used this child for his own sexual gratification, whenever he had the opportunity", particularly when he was angry or drunk.

The abuse was committed over a six-year period between 1977 and 1983 when his daughter was aged between four and nine.

Liam Adams consistently denied the charges throughout a two-week trial.

However, a jury of nine men and three women convicted Adams on all charges, following four hours of deliberation, with a majority verdict of eleven to one.

This was his second trial. The first trial collapsed in April for legal reasons.

'Most serious aspect'

In her sentencing remarks, the judge said Adams' indecent assault, gross indecency and rape of his daughter at the age of five when her mother was in hospital giving birth to her baby brother Connor in May 1978 was "the most serious aspect of his offending".

She said this was "because of her age at the time and the circumstances of when the abuse took place and its nature and degree".

She said that after raping his daughter, Adams then carried her crying, in a blanket, to her grandparents who lived nearby.

The judge said that "even as a young child" during the five years of abuse, Áine understood, "that what was happening to her was wrong, but that she did not understand why her father was doing it to her".

The judge said she regarded the aggravating features in the case to include, Áine's young age, the great breach of trust involved, the nature and extent of the indignities to which she was subjected and the effect it has had on her.

There were "three matters of mitigation" in Adams' favour, she said - his ill-health, the lack of any relevant or significant criminal record, and that no other allegations of sex abuse had been made against him in the last 20 years.

As part of Adams' sentence, he was placed on the Sex Offenders' Register for life, and banned from working with children and vulnerable adults.

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