contraband  | 

Dad made thousands of 'calls and threats to ex-partner from jail', court told

Martin Cunningham (27) allegedly made the calls and threats from a contraband phone in jail

Blanchardstown District Court. Stock photo

Andrew Phelan

A father-of-one has been accused of making thousands of attempts to call his ex-partner from prison and threatening to "cut her to ribbons" in voice messages.

Martin Cunningham (27) allegedly made the calls and threats from a contraband phone in jail.

He was refused bail and the case against him was adjourned at Blanchardstown District Court.

Cunningham, from Warrenstown Drive, Mulhuddart, is charged with harassing the woman and threatening to kill her or cause her serious harm.

Garda Quin Hanley said when the accused was charged, he replied to one count: "That is b*******s."

Objecting to bail, he said the alleged victim maintained she had received an excessive number of missed calls and a number of voice messages from an unknown number but which she believed came from the accused, her ex-partner.

It was alleged she received 3,808 phone calls between January 1 and March 21, 2021.

The alleged victim's phone was set to automatically block any number she did not have saved. Her phone had thousands of missed calls from the unknown number and it was the garda's belief that Mr Cunningham had tried to call the woman from prison.

There were also four recorded messages in which the woman said she recognised the accused's voice.

In one, the caller threatened "you have 10 minutes to answer the phone to me", the garda said. It was alleged he called her a "dirty little wh**e" and said "get on the phone to me or I will cut you up to ribbons".

He also warned her to get her child "out of the gaff" and "I will burn everything to the ground", Gda Hanley alleged.

Gardaí had not retrieved the handset alleged to have been used but said the number had also been used to contact Mr Cunningham's parents.

The garda had identified calls being made through cell sites in the vicinity of the prison which, he said, was corroborative.

Applying for bail, the defence said there was no proof his client had made the calls.

He said the type of data retention being relied on in the case had come in for criticism from European courts.

The judge said, while taking the point about the European courts, the law used by gardaí was "the law of the land as of this point in time".

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