Sunday 22 April 2018

'At that stage I thought, "that's it… I'm dead"' - man tortured and waterboarded by Dowdall and father speaks

Accountant beaten and waterboarded by ex-SF councillor reveals: 'My life ended that night'

Alex Hurley. Photo: Sunday World
Alex Hurley. Photo: Sunday World

Hayley Halpin

An accountant tortured and waterboarded by former Sinn Fein councillor Jonathan Dowdall says his "life ended that night".

In an interview with the Sunday World, Westmeath native Alex Hurley (30) described how he could hear Dowdall’s children playing outside the garage while their father and grandfather tortured and waterboarded him.

“My life ended that night. I have only been existing ever since,” Mr Hurley revealed.

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

The discovery of the incident came about when Gardaí were searching Dowdall's home as part of another investigation when they came across a USB flash drive containing footage of the torture.

Mr Hurley recalled to the Sunday World how he initially came in contact with Dowdall after the former Sinn Fein councillor advertised a €16,000 BMW motorcycle on Done Deal.

Jonathan Dowdall (top) and Alex Hurley (below)
Jonathan Dowdall (top) and Alex Hurley (below)

Following an initial viewing of the bike at the Dowdall house on January 12, 2015, he was given a bank account to transfer the money to. Shortly after, Mr Hurley received a phone call inviting him to dinner.

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."

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

The court previously heard that Dowdall believed Mr Hurley was going to defraud him after finding a post online.

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

Mr Hurley, however, admitted 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 years old.

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,” Mr Hurley told the Sunday World.

"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."

The worst was yet to come for Hurley when 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, the father 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 newspaper.

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 had stated that he was the head of the IRA I didn’t want to put my parents at risk.

"Because of that I didn’t go to the Gardaí… and that’s when my life ended. My life ended that night I think … life becomes an existence, you just exist,” he told the Sunday World.

Mr Hurley stated that he will be suing Jonathan Dowdall and pursuing him for the damage done to him since the ordeal.

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