Northern Ireland news

Convicted child abuser Liam Adams dies in a Belfast hospice

Convicted paedophile Liam Adams has died in a Belfast hospice

CONVICTED child abuser Liam Adams died in a Belfast hospice yesterday, just over three weeks after he was moved from prison to receive end of life care for terminal cancer.

Earlier this month The Irish News reported that Adams had been moved from Maghaberrry jail where he had been serving a sentence for the rape and sexual assault of his daughter, Aine Dahlstrom.

The 63-year-old brother of former Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams was five years into a 16-year jail term.

He was diagnosed with cancer and received treatment while in prison before being transferred to a hospice at the start of February.

Mrs Dahlstrom, who waived her right to anonymity, was four years old in 1977 when her father first assaulted her. The abuse escalated to rape in 1978 and continued until 1983.

The victim returned to Belfast from Scotland in 2006 to have the case against her father reopened and he was interviewed by police in November the following year.

Frustrated at a lack of progress she went public in December 2009, giving an interview during which it was revealed that the family had informed Gerry Adams of abuse in 1987, the same time she first told police about the crimes.

The former West Belfast MP said he confronted his brother about the abuse allegations and he admitted during a conversation in 2000 that he had sexually assaulted his eldest daughter.

Despite this the paedophile worked with young people in youth projects in west Belfast and Dundalk.

There were further legal wrangles, leading to Adams fleeing to the Republic, where for a time he fought a European Arrest Warrant.

He was handed over to the PSNI in November 2011, having failed in his challenge against the extradition process.

The west Belfast man continued to deny any wrongdoing, putting his victim through two lengthy trials, but in November 2013 was convicted by a jury and sentenced to 16 years behind bars, with two further years to be served on probation. A 2015 appeal against the conviction failed.

Adams served most of his sentence in segregation over fears for his safety because of the high-profile nature of his conviction.

His second wife and his daughter from that marriage supported him throughout the trial and were at his bedside at the hospice throughout the final weeks of his life.

The former Sinn Féin leader also visited his brother in the hospice as did other members of the family.

Prison authorities confirmed that the 63-year-old prisoner "died on Monday morning", adding that his next of kin had been informed.

Ronnie Armour, head of the Northern Ireland Prison Service, said: "I would like to extend my sympathy to the family of the prisoner. My thoughts are with them at this difficult time."

As with standard procedure, the PSNI and Prisoner Ombudsman were informed.

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