'Sickening' | 

False imprisonment victim 'sickened' as Jonathan Dowdall and dad Patrick released on bail

Victim of terrifying ordeal reveals his shock at release of Regency Hotel accused who said he'd "feed him to dogs"

Former Sinn Fein councillor Jonathan Dowdall being released from Wheatfield Prison on Thursday afternoon

Patrick Dowdall is embraced by an unidentified female as he is released on bail from Wheatfield Prison on Thursday afternoon

Patrick O'Connell

REGENCY Hotel murder accused Jonathan Dowdall and his father Patrick were given a garda escort as they were released from Wheatfield Prison on Thursday afternoon.

Our exclusive pictures show the pair carrying plastic bags filled with their belongings from the prison at 1.25pm before placing them in the boot of a waiting Mini Cooper and being driven away.

The car was followed by an unmarked garda car on which the flashing lights were switched on as they exited the main gates.

Former Sinn Fein councillor Jonathan (44) and Patrick (64) were granted bail in the sums of €30,000 and €10,000 respectively in the High Court earlier this month pending trial for their alleged roles in the murder of Kinahan mobster Byrne.

Patrick Dowdall is charged with facilitating the murder of David Byrne at the hotel.

But Jonathan could not take up bail until Thursday when his sentence for falsely imprisoning and water-boarding a man at his Navan Road home, in an unrelated incident in 2015, expired.

Patrick Dowdall had already completed a sentence in relation to the same crime.

Patrick Dowdall is embraced by an unidentified female as he is released on bail from Wheatfield Prison on Thursday afternoon

In total, Dowdall Jnr served just five years and 11 months in prison for the "humiliating and degrading" torture ordeal he inflicted on his victim after an initial 12-year-sentence was reduced to eight years by the Court of Appeal and another two years were deducted in remission.

Today, in his only interview since Dowdall's release from prison, the man he tortured and threatened to 'chop up and feed to the dogs' reveals how:

  • He is still plagued by nightmares about the terrifying ordeal he endured in Dowdall's garage;
  • He had to change his name in the wake of the trial, and
  • He will never forgive Jonathan Dowdall or his father for "the hell they put me through that night."

The victim has also asked that his name and picture not be used by any media for fear of the detrimental effect it would have on him as he tries to rebuild his life.

"This is not justice," he told the Sunday World as we showed him the images of Jonathan Dowdall's release from prison.

Jonathan Dowdall

"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 is sickening."

During the their 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 gardai 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 this week. "No one could ever forget an experience like that.

"Sometimes it fades to the back of your mind as you try to rebuild your life, but it's not something you ever forget. And it doesn't help that this wasn't a spur of the moment thing - 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."

The victim continued: "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 was getting out this week had been a "horrendous shock.

Former Sinn Fein councillor Jonathan Dowdall being released on bail from Wheatfield Prison on Thursday afternoon

"I couldn't believe it," he said.

"I believe his release from prison today is way before time.

"It certainly causes me grave concerns - concerns I was trying to put behind me.

"There are so many little things in life that trigger memories of that night. I will never forgive and I can never forget."

Patrick Dowdall is to go on trial in the Special Criminal Court in October charged with contributing to activity intending to or being reckless as to whether his actions could facilitate the murder of David Byrne.

David Byrne

It is alleged he made a room available at the hotel for a criminal organisation or its members on February 4, 2016.

Jonathan Dowdall will also go on trial in the same court in October charged with the murder of 33-year-old David Byrne during a boxing weigh-in at the Regency hotel in Whitehall, Dublin on February 5, 2016.

Jonathan's trial will take place before the three judge, non-jury court alongside that of Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch, who was extradited from Spain to face a charge of the murder of Mr Byrne.

Today's Headlines

More Crime

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