'Pure evil' | 

Jonathan Dowdall’s torture victim slams ‘cold-blooded violent psychopath’

His victim says Dowdall’s involvement in Regency murder “does not surprise me”

Jonathan Dowdall and his father, Patrick

Former Sinn Féin councillor Jonathan Dowdall

Gardaí at Jonathan Dowdall’s family home in Dublin

Patrick O'ConnellSunday World

A man who was imprisoned and tortured by former Sinn Féin councillor Jonathan Dowdall has branded him ‘pure evil’ after the thug admitted that he facilitated the Regency Hotel murder of David Byrne.

The victim, who was abducted and water-boarded by Dowdall in 2015, told the Sunday Worldthat Dowdall’s capacity for violence and the way he enjoyed displaying it during his abduction, left him in no doubt as to what the then ‘respected politician’ was capable of.

“I looked in his eyes that evening, after he and his father cable-tied me to a chair in their garage, and all I could see was pure evil,” he said.

“There was no compassion, no humanity and no remorse. He cold-bloodedly lured me to the house with the intention of torturing me. It wasn’t a spur of the moment thing at all – it was pre-planned with his father in cold blood.

“So, if you’re asking me now if I’m surprised it transpires he was involved in the planning of the murder of another human being.

“The answer is: ‘No, I am not’. Dowdall had the world fooled.

“He manipulated society into believing he was a dedicated family man, a hard-working businessman, and a politician working for the greater good.

“But he was none of those things.

Former Sinn Féin councillor Jonathan Dowdall

“It was all a mask and I’m maybe the only person alive who got to see what was really going on beneath the mask.

“Once they had me in that chair, I saw the real Jonathan Dowdall, and what I saw was a cold-blooded violent psychopath.”

On Wednesday of this week, Dowdall (44) and his father Patrick (65) pleaded guilty to facilitating the murder of David Byrne at the Regency Hotel in 2016 as part of the Hutch-Kinahan feud.

Dowdall had been charged before the Special Criminal Court last April with the murder of Kinahan gang member Byrne (34) at the hotel, on February 5, 2016.

He had been listed to go on trial alongside other co-accused men – who are all charged in connection with the murder of Byrne – at the three-judge court tomorrow.

Gerry Hutch (58), of The Paddocks, Clontarf, Dublin 3, is also charged with Byrne’s murder.

But appearing on Wednesday, Dowdall and his father, Patrick, both pleaded guilty to facilitating the murder, by making a room available at the Regency Hotel, Drumcondra, Dublin 9, for a criminal organisation or its members on February 4, 2016.

Both men remain on bail but Jonathan Dowdall was led away from the court by gardaí via a secure area.

Byrne was shot dead at the hotel after five men, three disguised as armed gardaí, stormed the building which was hosting a boxing weigh-in at the time.

Cartel boss Daniel Kinahan, the intended target of the attack, escaped the hotel as the shots were fired.

David’s older brother Liam, a right-hand-man of Daniel Kinahan, was also photographed at the hotel after the killing.

Gardaí at Jonathan Dowdall’s family home in Dublin

It was during a raid on Jonathan Dowdall’s home in connection with the Garda investigation into the Regency Hotel shooting that footage was recovered of the previous torture episode in which the Dowdalls were involved.

Jonathan Dowdall served just under six years in prison for the ordeal he inflicted on his victim after his original 12-year sentence was reduced to eight on appeal.

He had been a serving member of Dublin City Council at the time, having been elected in May 2014 on a Sinn Féin ticket before resigning in February 2015.

Speaking with the Sunday Worldpreviously, Dowdall’s victim described his release from prison last April after just six years as “sickening”.

“This is not justice,” he told us after we showed him images of Jonathan Dowdall’s release from Wheatfield prison.

“Less than six years in prison for false imprisonment, torture and threats to kill? How could anyone describe that as justice?

“They put me through hell that night so to see him go free after less than six years – it’s sickening.”

During the Dowdalls’ trial for false imprisonment and threats to kill, the Special Criminal Court heard how their victim visited the Dowdall home on the Navan Road on January 12, 2015 about the purchase of a motorbike.

Three days later, Jonathan Dowdall invited the victim to his home for dinner, but instead he was pushed into the garage where his wrists, chest and legs were tied to the chair with cable ties.

The victim was accused of being a thief and of trying to steal a car from another person.

Footage recorded on a mobile phone and later obtained by gardaí in a search of Jonathan Dowdall’s home, showed him wearing a balaclava and holding a tea-towel to the victim’s face before pouring water over his head.

The victim was told he was stupid to mess with the IRA and that if he told a soul about this his parents would be dead within 48 hours of his own disappearance.

The court heard that at one stage Patrick Dowdall pulled out a silver pliers and threatened to pull the victim’s fingers off.

“I will never forget what they did to me that night,” the victim told us. “No one could ever forget an experience like that.

“This was premeditated and pre-planned. I was lured into a trap, and as far as I’m concerned his motive was clear.

“He told me he was a member of the IRA and that I was going to be chopped up and fed to the dogs.

“To be honest, no horror movie would be as bad.

“After they tied me to the chair, I was shown an array of weapons, including a machete.

“The pliers came later!

“There was also a bucket of water and a tea-towel and I was water-boarded.

“I had never heard of water- boarding before that night and I certainly didn’t know what it involved. But after experiencing it, I can tell you it is terrifying.

“I had a tea-towel placed over my face and a full bucket of water poured over it.

“I couldn’t breathe and with the amount of water that was used, I believed I was either going to suffocate or drown. Then I was placed on the floor in the dark lying down sideways facing the door.

“They told me there was no point in screaming or shouting because it was a soundproof room and no-one would hear me.

“Then his father came back in and sat down on a swivel chair.

“He produced a pliers and told me he was going to chop my fingers off bit by bit unless I told him what he wanted to hear.”

Later, the victim was told he would be released but also: “If I told anyone what happened I would be lifted [abducted] within a matter of hours and that harm would be wrought upon my family, because they knew where they lived and they knew what they drove.

“They knew everything.”

The victim said learning Dowdall had pleaded guilty to facilitating a murder this week had not come as any great shock to him.

“The only surprise for me was that he admitted it,” he said.

“I never felt I got justice for what he did to me. I hope it’s different for the family of the man that was killed. I really do.”

Today's Headlines

More Courts

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

WatchMore Videos