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Wednesday 28 June 2017

'I heard Dowdall's kids playing outside while he tortured me'

Alex Hurley was held captive by Jonathan Dowdall
Alex Hurley was held captive by Jonathan Dowdall

An accountant who was tortured by former Sinn Fein councillor Jonathan Dowdall has said he heard Dowdall's children playing outside while he was been held captive.

Speaking about the incident for the first time, Alex Hurley (30) said that his "life ended that night".

The Westmeath man said he has only been existing since the brutal three-hour ordeal in Dowdall's garage.

"I could hear the children screaming and laughing and playing tag while their father and grandfather were in there torturing me… and that is grotesque," said Mr Hurley.

Dowdall (40) and his father Patrick (60) are currently in custody awaiting sentencing after admitting to false imprisonment and threatening to kill Mr Hurley in the garage of their home on the Navan Road in Dublin on January 15, 2015.

The incident was discovered when gardai searched Dowdall's home as part of another investigation and came across a USB flash drive containing footage of the torture. Mr Hurley has now revealed he plans on suing the disgraced businessman.

"I will be suing Jonathan Dowdall. I will be pursuing him for the damage done to me since," he said. "I need to rebuild my life. The nightmares have never gone away."

Bogus

On arriving at Dowdall's house, Mr Hurley said he was blocked in by the father and son.

"From there I was backed into the garage and into a chair. Then his father produced a packet of cable-ties and tied me to a chair with the cable-ties," said Mr Hurley.

"He said, 'You will never try to rob my son or con him'."

A court previously heard that Dowdall believed Mr Hurley was going to defraud him after finding a post online, in which he had been accused of fraud.

Mr Hurley insists that the post was "bogus", claiming he has never been convicted of fraud.

He did, however, admit to having been convicted of 10 counts of theft, arising from an incident involving a former employer in Galway eight years ago, when he was 22.

During the attack, Patrick Dowdall told Mr Hurley: "Tell the truth, tell the truth because you are going nowhere."

Mr Hurley said: "At that stage I thought, 'That's it. I'm dead'.

"Then I was told I would be chopped up and part of me would be fed to the dogs.

"They said if I didn't tell the truth about why I wanted the bank details... half of me would be fed to the dogs and the other half would be wrapped in cellophane bags and brought to Tyrone."

Things then got worse for Mr Hurley, as Dowdall began to waterboard him.

A towel was placed over the victim's head and Dowdall poured a bucket of water over him for some time.

Following a second round of waterboarding, Patrick Dowdall gave Mr Hurley one last chance to "tell them the truth".

"Then, basically, I don't know what came over the father, but he asked me: 'Will we give you another chance?'," Mr Hurley told the Sunday World.

This was after Mr Hurley told the Dowdalls "what they wanted to hear" - that he was a conman.

"I didn't go to the guards because my parents were threatened and after he [Dowdall] had stated that he was the head of the IRA, I didn't want to put my parents at risk," he said.

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