Kevin Lunney abduction: QIH director tells of torture by gang

Media caption,
Kevin Lunney was driving home from work in Kinawley when he was attacked on 17 September

A businessman from County Fermanagh who was abducted and badly beaten has spoken to the BBC about his ordeal for the first time.

Kevin Lunney, a director of Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH), told BBC Spotlight NI he had the letters QIH cut into his chest with a Stanley knife.

The 50-year-old was driving from work to his home in Kinawley when he was attacked on 17 September.

He was found in County Cavan, about 22 miles (35km) away.

Mr Lunney was beaten and tortured by three men in an attack that lasted for about two and a half hours.

Recounting the ordeal, Mr Lunney feared he would never see his wife and children again.

He had driven into the lane leading to his home at about 18:40 BST when he saw a white car ahead of him.

He said the car was reversed "as hard as they could drive it" into his car.

WARNING: This story includes some graphic details some readers may find upsetting

'We're gonna kill you'

Mr Lunney locked the doors but the windows were smashed and he was dragged out by two men.

He said a third person then held a Stanley knife to his neck.

"I was still resisting a little bit and he said: 'Get into that, and if you don't get into that we're gonna kill you'."

Mr Lunney was bundled into the boot of a black Audi and his attackers torched his car along with the car they had used to ram it.

He managed to unlock the boot and tried to escape but was beaten and thrown back into the car.

After failing to escape, Mr Lunney was driven across the Irish border to County Cavan to what he described as an "old farmyard space" and taken inside a horse box.

"The same guy who had the Stanley knife said: 'You know why you're here. It's about QIH and you're going to resign.'

"And I said: 'Yes'."

Poured bleach on body

Mr Lunney goes on to describe some of the torture he experienced.

"He started to run the Stanley knife under each nail, deep enough so it was sore and painful.

"They poured bleach over my hands, then rubbed them over with a rag really hard."

Image caption,
Posters like this are part of a campaign to intimidate Kevin Lunney and other directors, a court heard in March

The kidnappers then stripped Mr Lunney.

Using the Stanley knife they cut the clothes from his body, leaving deep cuts along his legs and arms.

They then poured more bleach over the rest of his body and used a rag to rub it into the wounds.

Mr Lunney said he was in excruciating pain: "I was screaming, I think. I don't remember."

The kidnappers then told Mr Lunney they had been watching him, his family and the other Quinn directors and if they did not all resign they would come after all of them.

'I roared'

But his ordeal was not at an end. His leg was then hit with what he thinks was a baseball bat or short fence post.

"I heard it breaking. I roared," he said.

His leg was hit again. It was broken in two places.

Since his attack Mr Lunney has grown a beard to cover scars on his face.

He said the man with the Stanley knife cut his face on each side, five or six times.

He then used it to cut QIH into his chest.

Mr Lunney thinks the men were working from a list.

"I think certainly breaking the leg was on the list," he said.

He recounted them saying: "We have to rough you up, we have to mark you, we have to make sure you remember."

Mr Lunney was dumped at the side of a road in County Cavan, 22 miles away from where he was abducted.

Cold, in agony and losing blood, he said he felt like he "was going to die on the road".

A man on a passing tractor saw him at the side on the road at about 21:00 BST and called the gardaí (Irish Police).


Detectives on both sides of the Irish border are investigating the attack.

The directors of Quinn Industrial Holdings held a meeting with the Garda Commissioner Drew Harris on Tuesday.

They said they had received assurances progress was being made in the investigation into Mr Lunney's abduction.

The assault was the latest in a series of attacks on employees and property linked to QIH.

Image source, Pacemaker
Image caption,
Kevin Lunney was a close associate of Sean Quinn

The companies which make up QIH were formerly owned by Sean Quinn, who was once Ireland's richest man.

When his business empire collapsed, businessmen backed by three investment funds bought its manufacturing companies in December 2014 - the firms are run by former associates of Mr Quinn.

He returned as a consultant, but left QIH in 2016 amid tension between him and the management team.

Mr Quinn has condemned the attack on Mr Lunney and called for the intimidation to stop.

He added that the incident ended any ambition he had to return to the Quinn Group.

Spotlight can be watched on the BBC iPlayer.

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