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Man at centre of Canada Goose jacket threats witnessed death of gangster dad

Aaron Cunningham’s father was murdered in a gangland feud as he slept in bed beside him when he was a child

Aaron Cunningham as a youngster (above) with his father Paul Cunningham who was murdered, and John Cunningham and Aaron Cunningham outside court.

Eamon DillonSunday World

A man at the centre of death threats over the sale of Canada Goose jackets is the son of a gangland figure shot dead as he slept beside him as young child.

This week, Aaron Cunningham, who got a four-year suspended sentence for the threats, witnessed the brutal murder of his gangster father Paul Cunningham in 2004.

The shocking murder was mentioned at this week’s sentence hearing where the judge acknowledged Aaron had a difficult childhood having witnessed his father’s killing.

His defence solicitor had said his childhood had been characterised by stress and anxiety after his father was murdered while in bed with him when he was a young child.

Aaron Cunningham as a youngster

The killing was part of a gangland feud at the time as gangs in west Dublin fought for control following the demise of The Westies.

Paul Cunningham’s murder sparked fears of reprisals and further bloodshed which followed the death of his associate and gang boss Declan Curran in prison eight days earlier.

He was killed by two shotgun blasts as he lay in bed with his partner in his Mulhuddart home, where the couple’s young child was asleep at the time.

His mother and other family members were also in the house at the time but were unhurt.

Paul Cunningham had at least 20 previous convictions and was believed to have been involved in drug dealing and armed crime.

He was associated with a gang that included John Daly, Anthony Spratt and Declan Curran, who were believed to have been put under a curse because so many of them died.

Paul Cunningham was the third member of his family at that time to have died violently.

His 19-year-old brother, David, died after being stabbed in the chest, while another brother, Gary, died when he was 16 when he was killed in a car crash.

This week saw Aaron and his uncle John Cunningham (38) in court for threatening to kill a man they had given deposits to for Canada Goose jackets that didn’t arrive.

Judge Pauline Codd said the threats issued were similar to threats that would be “often meted out to people who owe money for drugs”.

The victim had supplied Aaron Cunningham with similar jackets after he had paid a €450 deposit.

Then in November 2020 the uncle and nephew handed over €4,300 for more jackets ahead of Christmas but they were never delivered.

Aaron Cunningham with his father Paul Cunnigham who was murdered

After losing patience John Cunningham sent a message in January saying: “I’m going to go up to that gaff and burn it down. Get that money or your ma and da is paying for it, ya little black c***t.”

The two men called to the victim’s house looking for €7,000 but then lowering this demand to €6,000. The victim’s uncle paid €1,700 over to John Cunningham.

Then on January 15 John Cunningham sent a voicemail to the victim saying, “if you don’t have €2,000 for me tomorrow, I’m going to shoot you in the head.”

Aaron Cunningham sent voice message via Snapchat in February saying: “if you don’t have that money by tomorrow I will smash your uncle’s face, and I’m coming down with people...If you don’t have that money, you will get it.”

Both men apologised for their actions and the judge imposed suspended sentences on the two.

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