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sick attack Face of drug pusher who bit ear off man in Tesco and swallowed it shouting he has AIDS

Liam Dowds was on a shoplifting rampage when the attack happened

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Liam Dowds leaving a property in the lower Ormeau area of South Belfast August 2015 Pic: Liam McBurney

Liam Dowds leaving a property in the lower Ormeau area of South Belfast August 2015 Pic: Liam McBurney

Liam Dowds leaving a property in the lower Ormeau area of South Belfast August 2015 Pic: Liam McBurney

THIS is the notorious Belfast heroin dealer who bit a Tesco customer's ear off before swallowing it.

Liam Dowds fled Northern Ireland after being targeted by dissident republicans and had been living rough when he attacked the customer who had tried to stop him stealing from the supermarket.

The one-time dealer became a heroin addict himself and resorted to shoplifting to feed his habit.

In 2020, he was convicted of stealing more than €7,000 worth of clothes from Brown Thomas in Dublin on various dates in 2019 to feed his addiction.

And last week he was convicted of the horrific attack at Tesco in Cabra, north Dublin, last May.

Victim David Cunningham was travelling down the escalator at Tesco when he saw a shoplifter being tackled by a security guard and a shop manager.

Mr Cunningham went to their aid, before Dowds turned and headbutted him several times.

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Liam Dowds

Liam Dowds

Liam Dowds

Dowds, who was stealing razors, lamb and champagne, then bit off Mr Cunningham's ear, swallowed it and said: "I have HIV."

When other customers told the victim to go and look for his missing ear, a distraught Mr Cunningham told them: "I can't. It's in his stomach," Dublin Circuit Criminal Court was told.

Dowds (40) pleaded guilty to theft and assault causing harm and one count of criminal damage at Finglas Garda Station.

The court heard how after he was arrested, Dowds, with an address at Backpackers City Hostel in Dublin, told gardaí he was going to "piss and sh*t" all over the station.

He then proceeded to smear faeces all over his face and the walls of his cell, Garda Shane Byrne told the court.

Gardaí who arrived at the scene of the attack said there was blood everywhere.

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Dowds told arresting gardaí he was a drug addict and had HIV before laughing at the injured Mr Cunningham.

Several years ago, Dowds was convicted of supplying heroin to 25-year-old Andrea Brown, who fatally overdosed in the toilets of a KFC restaurant in Belfast in 2016.

Dowds was sentenced to 32 months - half of which was on supervised licence.

On his release from prison he came under threat from dissident republicans over his links to the drug world.

Dowds was forced to flee the nationalist New Lodge area and it was reported he was paying protection money to the UDA to allow him to live in the loyalist Shankill area.

He later moved to Dublin to escape the threats.

He ended up living rough or in hostels in Dublin as his dependency on heroin increased.

At one stage he was the focus of a BBC undercover investigation, which filmed him dealing heroin in Belfast.

Police believed he sold to a customer base of more than 100 addicts and was considered one of the biggest street dealers in the city.

Dowds was also an associate of low-level drug dealer Conor McKee, who was shot dead by dissident republicans in 2016.

PSNI investigating the murder discovered Dowds was the last person contacted by McKee before his death.

McKee was killed shortly after being released on bail on drugs charges.

A dissident republican gang from Ardoyne were blamed for the murder.

Dowds is set to be sentenced in Dublin on July 8.

steven.moore@sundayworld.com

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