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Face of Belfast drug pusher who bit ear off man in Tesco and swallowed it before shouting he had Aids

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 Liam Dowds

Liam Dowds

Sunday Life pic Liam Dowds - drug dealer

Sunday Life pic Liam Dowds - drug dealer

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Liam Dowds

A drug dealer who was once described as one of the main heroin pushers in Belfast ended up living rough in Dublin where he bit the ear off customer in Tesco and swallowed it after he was caught shoplifting to feed his own heroin addiction.

Liam Dowds was once described as the main heroin supplier in Belfast and was filmed by the BBC supplying heroin to vulnerable addicts but then spiralled into addiction himself.

Things started going downhill for Dowds after he helped source heroin to a 25-year-old woman who later fatally overdosed in the toilets of a KFC restaurant in Belfast in 2016.

Phone evidence helped link Dowds to the supply of the drugs to Andrew Brown whose family said she had been clean from the drugs for months before Dowds arranged the heroin for her.

Ms Brown had texted Dowds looking for heroin and he replied: “My mater will do you half f for £50, ok love.”

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

He was an unpopular figure on his release from prison and came under threat from dissident republicans over his links to the drug world.

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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 the murder discovered that 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.

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Sunday Life pic Liam Dowds - drug dealer

Sunday Life pic Liam Dowds - drug dealer

Sunday Life pic Liam Dowds - drug dealer

Dowds moved to the Republic to avoid being targeted by dissidents.

He became a heavy 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 on various dates in 2019 to feed his addiction.

He was then involved in a horrific incident at Tesco in Cabra, north Dublin on May 15 2021

Dowds appeared in court just over a week ago in relation to the incident where he bit ear off a customer who tried to stop him stealing razors, lamb and champagne before swallowing it and saying: “I have HIV”, a court has heard.

When other customers told the victim to go and look for his missing ear in the wake of the attack, he told them: “I can't. It's in his stomach”, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

Dowds (40) pleaded guilty to one count of stealing razors, lamb and champagne from Tesco supermarket at Navan Road, Cabra, one count of assault causing harm to the victim, David Cunningham, and one count of criminal damage at Finglas garda station on May 15, 2021.

The court heard that after he was arrested, Dowds, with an address at Backpackers City Hostel, Dublin 1, told gardaí he was going to “piss and shit” 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.

Mr Cunningham had been going down the escalator in Tesco when he saw Dowds being tackled by a security guard and the manager. He went to assist when Dowds headbutted him several times and bit his ear off.

Gardai said Dowds swallowed the ear and there was blood everywhere,

When other customers urged Mr Cunningham to look for his missing ear, he told them it was in Dowds' stomach.

Dowds told gardai he was a drug addict when gardai arrived. “Yeah I am and I have HIV,” before laughing at Mr Cunningham, who was nearby.

Dowds was originally from the nationalist New Lodge area of Belfast but had to flee the area due to threats from dissidents.

He then moved out of the area and reports suggested he was paying protection money to the UDA to allow him to live in the Shankill area of Belfast.

He later moved out of the area and moved to Dublin to get away from 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 believe he sold to a customer base of more than 100 addicts and was considered one of the biggest street dealers in the city.

In 2011 he was sentenced to two years after trying to pay a man he had threated to kill to drop the charges.

Dowds had called to the man’s home with butcher knives and threatened him and his children

In his victim impact statement, the victim said he was “terrified” and left “absolutely petrified” when Dowds told him he knew where his children lived.

Before the case went to court Dowds approached the victim gabbing him by the arm and offering him thousands to drop the charges – which the victim refused to do.

Since being held on remand in relation to the Tesco incident in Dublin, Dowds has been off heroin.

He is set to be sentenced on July 8.


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