UPDATED: Grim description of cell where Adams will be held 48 hours more


For the full timeline of events leading up to Adams' questioning in the Jean McConville case, scroll down the page. For updates on the case as of Friday morning, watch this space:

3:00 pm. PSNI has announced they will hold Adams 48 hours longer for further questioning. In a closed-door hearing, a judge granted approval for his time of detention to be extended.

"Detectives from PSNI Serious Crimes Branch investigating the abduction and murder of Jean McConveille in 1972 have been granted an extra 48 hours to interview the 65-year-old man who was rrested in connection with the investigation on Wednesday," a spokesman said.

2:30 pm. The first description of the cell where Adams is to be held into the weekend has emerged, courtesy of the Belfast Telegraph. The move by PSNI to hold Adams for further questioning means he will be spending at least 24 more hours in 'a cramped, windowless cell with a seatless toilet.'

Adams is being held in the Serious Crimes Suite at a PSNI station in Co. Antrim.

"Adams would have spent last night sleeping on a steel-framed, wall-mounted bed with a blue plastic foam mattress. Spring mattresses are not permitted due to the risk of self-harm by suspects," the Telegraph reports.

"The sparse rooms in the suite have no windows and a seatless toilet positioned in the corner.

"A security camera is mounted on one wall for staff to constantly monitor the behaviour of those inside. Officers can also keep watch through a small peephole in the cell door."

11:00 am. PSNI have set aside a 2:30 pm GMT court appointment to apply to keep Gerry Adams for questioning over the weekend.

In response to this news, Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Martin McGuinness gave a brief press conference in which he stated "Yesterday I said that the timing of the arrest of Gerry Adams was politically-motivated. Today's decision by the PSNI to seek an extension confirms me in my view."

"There is a cabal within the PSNI who have a different agenda, a negative and destructive agenda to both the peace process and to Sinn Féin."

He stated Sinn Féin had been told this by "very senior members of the PSNI" who had coined the phrase the 'dark side'.

"Am I angry? Yes I am, but it's a very controlled anger," he said.

He gave no guarantees of continued support for the police and said that was dependent on Adams case being resolved

"If it doesn't, we will have to review that situation."

British Prime Minister David Cameron spoke with McGuinness and with First Minister Peter Robinson, asserting that the arrest was a criminal matter and was not politically motivated.

"There’s been absolutely no political interference in this issue,” he stated. “We have independent policing authorities, independent prosecuting authorities – those are vital parts of the free country and the free society we enjoy today.”

Cameron is said to be in frequent contact with Stormont, Leinster House and the White House.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny noted the escalating international attention the arrest is receiving.

“This is an issue where a high-profile citizen is being questioned about his knowledge or any information he may have about Jean McConville and her murder and disappearance.

“And I expect Gerry Adams to give his answers in full, as he has a duty and responsibility to do. It’s a notorious murder, and the eyes of the world are on Ireland because of the personalities involved."


In brief

Gerry Adams, the president of Sinn Fein and a TD (parliamentary representative) for County Louth, was arrested on Wednesday for questioning in connection with the 1972 IRA kidnapping and murder of Belfast mother of 10 Jean McConville.

Since presenting himself for arrest, he has been in police custody at a station in County Antrim, where he is being questioned by detectives from the Serious Crimes Unit of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

Legally, he can be held until Friday evening, at which point the PSNI must secure approval to have the time of detention extended.

As outlined in a statement released before his arrest, Adams submitted to the questioning by prior arrangement. PSNI’s decision to question Adams comes on the heels of aiding and abetting charges filed last month against former IRA officer Ivor Bell in connection with McConville’s murder.

Following Bell’s arrest, Adams said “What happened to Jean McConville was a terrible injustice. I was not involved in any part of it. If the PSNI wish to talk to me on this matter I am available to meet them. I have asked my solicitor to contact them.”