Quanta Capital boss 'deeply sorry' for role in abduction

The CEO of a company that owns an illegally built estate being used to house asylum seekers says he is “deeply sorry” for his role in abducting and beating a young man.

Quanta Capital boss Mel Sutcliffe, who along with three co-accused pleaded guilty to false imprisonment, abducted the man from his home in 1995 and brought him to the Dublin Mountains where he was interrogated and beaten. 

The man was subsequently murdered later that day in an incident that gardaí say was unrelated to the abduction and did not involve Sutcliffe or his three accomplices.

“I am deeply sorry for what occurred, which was entirely out of character with my life up to then and subsequently,” Sutcliffe told The Ditch

Sutcliffe pleaded guilty

Mel Sutcliffe, his brother Liam and two of their friends abducted Eric Shortall from his home in west Dublin on 15 November, 1995. 

The 22-year-old petty criminal and heroin user from Ballyfermot was suspected of threatening staff with a syringe and robbing £100 from Sutcliffe’s Eurocycles bike shop in Dublin 12 earlier that day.

Sutcliffe and his three accomplices drove Shortall to the Dublin Mountains where they interrogated and beat him. They released him at 7.30pm. 

Shortall returned to Ballyfermot where he was shot dead at 8.50pm that evening.  Gardaí maintain the shooting was unconnected to the abduction and do not believe those who abducted Shortall were involved in his death.

Sutcliffe pleaded guilty to falsely imprisoning Shortall, an indictable offence that carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. According to multiple court reports, including in the Irish Times, he was given a 12-month suspended prison sentence at Kilmainham District Court on 26 July, 1996. Sutcliffe however told The Ditch, “The Probation Act was applied” and that he does “not have a conviction”.

Garda sergeant Anthony McHugh told judge Gillian Hussey he was satisfied that the four men, including Sutcliffe, were not involved in Shortall’s murder. There is no suggestion that Sutcliffe or his accomplices were in any way involved in Shortall’s death.

Sutcliffe told The Ditch he regretted his involvement in Shortall’s abduction.

“Almost 30 years ago when I was in my early 20s, I was involved in an incident following a violent robbery at a shop I owned in which staff members were terrified and one was injured,” said Sutcliffe in his statement to The Ditch earlier today.

“The issue was subsequently dealt with by the District Court and I donated £6000 to charities. The Probation Act was applied, and I do not have a conviction. I regretted my actions at the time and still do. I am deeply sorry for what occurred, which was entirely out of character with my life up to then and subsequently,” he said.

Sutcliffe declined to respond when asked by The Ditch to clarify his claim that he benefited from the Probation Act and was not convicted by the court. 

Sutcliffe is the founder and CEO of Quanta Capital. The south Dublin resident “assembled a €1 billion commercial real estate and mixed asset portfolio,” according to his Quanta Capital profile page. 

Quanta Capital owns Kippure Manor Estate, a 14-house development in county Wicklow built without planning permission and being used to house asylum seekers. The accommodation operators, Seefin Events Unlimited, were paid almost €10.5 million last year by the Department of Integration.

It was reported yesterday that Wicklow County Council planning enforcement officials have given Quanta Capital-controlled Tondo Ltd just 16 weeks to demolish the estate.

The Ditch editors

The Ditch editors