Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams's denied being involved in the 1972 murder of Jean McConville Reuters

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams will not face prosecution over the unsolved 1972 abduction and murder of Jean McConville.

Adams was questioned by police for four days following his arrest last April over the murder of the mother of 10, who was abducted in front of her children from her West Belfast home in 1972, having been wrongly suspected of being an informer. Her body was discovered in 2003 on Louth beach, 50 miles from her home.

Northern Ireland's Public Prosecution Service (PPS) has now said Adams will not face further action in the investigation.

Deputy director of public prosecutions Pamela Atchison said: We have given careful consideration to the evidence currently available in respect of each of the three men and four women reported and have concluded that it is insufficient to provide a reasonable prospect of obtaining a conviction against any of them for a criminal offence.

"We have had a series of meetings with members of the [McConville] family, most recently this morning [29 September], about all of our prosecutorial decisions and we will continue to engage with them as we progress the prosecution of Ivor Bell.

Republican Bell, 78, has been charged with aiding and abetting McConville's murder. The case against him is based on an interview he allegedly gave to researchers at Boston College in the US.

Adams denied the allegations against him following his release from custody after being questioned for 96 hours. He said during a press conference: "I am conscious there is another family at the heart of this. That is the family of Jean McConville. Let me be very clear, I am innocent of any conspiracy to abduct, kill and bury Jean McConville."

Following the decision by the PPS, Adams said: "This decision is long overdue. There was never any real basis for questioning me in respect of this case. I played no act or part in Jean McConville's death.

"I support the PSNI. But the timing of my arrest showed there remain elements within the PSNI who are against Sinn Féin. But they will not succeed. I voluntarily went to the PSNI last year after a concerted series of leaks claiming that I was about to be arrested. For some time I have been the target of a sustained and malicious campaign seeking to involve me with the killing of Mrs McConville.

"These claims have also been seized upon and repeated by my political opponents including the Taoiseach and the Fianna Fail Leader to score political points against Sinn Féin and me.

"I want to encourage anyone with information to assist in the return of the bodies of those people killed and secretly buried by the IRA. I have worked with others towards this and I will continue to do so.

Jean McConville's son Michael has said the family is still seeking justice for her murder. He added: "Those who ordered, planned and carried out this war crime thought that their guilt could disappear along with her body.

"But it has not and we will continue to seek justice for our mother and see those responsible held to account no matter how long it takes".