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Thread: Paddy Moriarty, 70, Missing From Larrimah, Northern Territory, Since 16 Dec 2017

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    Paddy Moriarty, 70, Missing From Larrimah, Northern Territory, Since 16 Dec 2017

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-0...kellie/9380782


    'It's kind of like Wolf Creek': Where are Paddy Moriarty and his dog Kellie?

    In Larrimah in the Northern Territory, feuds run deep and grudges hold fast. In the case of missing person Paddy Moriarty, police suspect foul play and that his missing dog Kellie holds the key to unravelling the mystery.


    At dusk on a stinking hot afternoon late last year, Mr Moriarty and his red kelpie cross Kellie left their local, the Pink Panther Hotel, in the remote town of Larrimah and vanished into thin air.

    It was December 16.

    Despite an extensive search of the area, police haven't shed any light on the disappearance and fear he may be dead.

    Some of the dozen or so residents ?who have a history of long-running feuds ? are concerned the 70-year-old Irishman may have been killed.

    Police have no suspects, but they have turned to a new focus. The loyal red dog Kellie.

    The officer in charge of the case, Detective Sergeant Matt Allen, hopes the dog might have been dumped with a shelter or a vet and will lead them to find out what's happened to Mr Moriarty.

    The town's mechanic Mark Rayner is on the same page as police.

    "The key to this is the dog, the dog hasn't come back," he said.

    "Find the dog, you find Paddy, we think."

    A man in a garage

    PHOTO: Mark Rayner works as a mechanic in Larrimah. (ABC News: Kristy O'Brien)


    'It's kind of like Wolf Creek'

    A man sits on a motorised Esky

    PHOTO: Paddy Moriarty at an Esky race in October 2016. (Supplied)


    The isolated town of Larrimah has been beset by deep enmities for many years, where residents living hundreds of metres apart completely ignore each other.

    Police are treating the disappearance of the pensioner ? who came to Australia at 19 ? as suspicious, although they stress there are no suspects identified at this time.

    But the town's other dozen residents are left on edge: has Mr Moriarty met a grisly end? Have the simmering tensions of the town's long-running feud boiled over to violence?

    Town publican Barry Sharpe doesn't think there's a "psychopath" on the loose; he thinks it's a targeted attack.

    Mr Rayner told the ABC he felt safe, but "a lot people are talking that it's kind of like Wolf Creek at the moment".

    Sifting fact from rumour

    Mr Moriarty has been described by friends as a jolly larrikin with a sense of humour who would do anything for his mates.

    But the 70-year-old pensioner also had enemies. Two residents in the community have openly admitted in interviews with the ABC that at times they had wished him harm ? but they both add the caveat that they certainly haven't had anything to do with his disappearance.

    This is a story with many layers in an isolated world whose inhabitants live differently to most Australians.

    There are stories of sabotage. Pet peacocks fed to a crocodile. Roadkill used for retribution. Rivalry over the sale of meat pies.

    Police now have the difficult task of sifting fact from rumour and innuendo as they investigate the case.



    PHOTO: The isolated town of Larrimah, 430 kilometres south-east of Darwin. (ABC News: Ian Redfearn)


    A town plagued by a feud

    Larrimah is perched six hours' drive south of Darwin on the edge of the almost 3,000km-long Stuart Highway.

    The road is internationally notorious for missing persons cases, especially since the disappearance of British backpacker Peter Falconio 17 years ago.

    Dozens of others have gone missing on this stretch of road over the years.

    Relics from its time as a transport hub during World War II are everywhere, and so are the hidden and forgotten caverns and crevices.

    The town has become neglected and run down. It's a tiny blip to the travellers passing through and the competition for their attention is fierce.

    A man in a cut-off shirt

    PHOTO: Barry Sharpe owns Larrimah's Pink Panther Roadhouse. (ABC News: Kristy O'Brien)
    The fight over pies
    Passions run deep in the town and grudges hold fast. Take the meat pie war, for example.

    Larrimah's two main tourist businesses ? The Pink Panther Hotel and Fran's Tea House ? are separated by a few hundred metres and a lot of bad blood.

    Fran Hodgetts serves Devonshire tea and is proud of her reputation for selling meat pies.

    Years ago, when publican Barry Sharpe decided the pub's pet crocodile wasn't enough of an attraction, he started to sell meat pies in direct competition. Mrs Hodgetts was not impressed.

    A crocodile snaps its jaws on a feed of chicken

    PHOTO: Larrimah pub's crocodile "Sneeky Sam" snaps the chicken fed to it by publican Barry Sharpe. (ABC News: Anna Henderson)

    "There's no claim to saying, 'I sell pies so you can't sell pies'. It's like saying to you, 'I sell soft drinks so you can't sell them'. It's ridiculous," he said.

    Mrs Hodgetts' business is across the road from Mr Moriarty's house. The neighbours were once amicable but things turned sour.

    Mrs Hodgetts accused Mr Moriarty of waging a vendetta against her in an interview with the ABC before Christmas.

    "I stopped him coming here and that's where all the trouble started. He started pinching stuff, pinching umbrellas from here, damaging my property and give me big heaps of cheek and telling customers not to come in, putting broken glass under car wheels?" she said.

    They'd pull up in front of his place and he'd tell them not to come in here, nothing was homemade. I mean, I'm not rubbishing the man!

    Fran Hodgetts

    PHOTO: Fran Hodgetts in Larrimah this week. (ABC News: Kristy O'Brien)


    'The dog wouldn't eat Fran's pie'

    In a never-before-seen ABC interview with former ABC senior journalist Murray McLaughlin from 2011, Mr Moriarty spoke about Mrs Hodgetts. He was disparaging about her pie shop.

    "Fran's got the worst pies. And I'll f***ing tell you that," he said.

    They were shit over there, I used to go over there and the dog wouldn't eat Fran's pies.

    More recently, Mrs Hodgetts accused Mr Moriarty of putting a dead kangaroo under her house.

    Before Christmas, Mrs Hodgetts spoke to reporters about the missing persons search.

    "I don't know where he is and I'm not sad that he's gone. But I hope they find him because I've had so much trouble with him," she said.

    When the ABC approached Mrs Hodgetts this week, she declined an interview.

    "I don't know nothing ? the lawyers said not to say nothing, we don't say nothing."

    It's just one of the major feuds the town has seen. In an earlier scrap with a now defunct petrol station, the pub's pet peacocks were fed to a crocodile in retaliation for the death of a pet buffalo that was turned into pies.


    PHOTO: Richard Simpson and Barry Sharpe man the bar at Larrimah, where Paddy Moriarty was last seen. (ABC News: Kirsty O'Brien)

    <<cont'd>>

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    <<cont'd>>
    Life at the country pub

    There is more drama at the pub too. Mr Sharpe is ill and wants to sell up.

    He has been trying to sell the pub for some time, and plans to put it up for auction in March so he can focus on his treatment.

    Mr Moriarty's daily routine was to help Mr Sharpe clean the toilets and shower cubicles out the back before settling in at the bar for the afternoon.

    A man holds a snake

    PHOTO: Barman Richard Simpson shows off a wild snake. (ABC News: Kristy O'Brien)

    He usually bought eight mid strength beers. On the day he went missing, Mr Sharpe says he had consumed about 10 XXXX cans.

    That's backed up by bartender Richard Simpson, who has lived in Larrimah several times and recently returned to work in the pub when he heard Mr Sharpe was unwell.

    He says Mr Moriarty had a bit of a "wobbly boot", but was not intoxicated when he left.

    Mr Simpson is pretty sure he knows what happened, but he does offer an alternative theory.

    "OK, 2 per cent it might be aliens right," he said.

    "There ain't no f***ing aliens that have captured Paddy and if they had have done they would have dropped him back by now, cause he would have talked them into it."

    A man in a sweaty blue singlet

    PHOTO: Barry "Cookie" Burke is known as a hermit in Larrimah. (ABC News: Kristy O'Brien)

    'His own worst enemy'
    Mrs Hodgetts wasn't the only resident to have frustrations with Mr Moriarty. Barry "Cookie" Burke said he "was his own worst enemy" and would "make trouble in an empty house".

    He said despite their falling out, it wasn't motivation to kill him.

    "I'm flat out here doing what I'm doing. I got no time to muck around going down there and doing freaking stupid things like that," he said.

    I'll be honest with you, I felt like breaking the guy's neck sometimes, but it never happened.

    The ABC asked every resident who was interviewed whether they had anything to do with Mr Moriarty's disappearance ? each one said no.

    Billy Hodgetts met Mr Moriarty 30 years ago working on stations ? he's also Fran's ex-husband.

    "I think someone has killed him, for sure, if he was going somewhere he would have taken his car, wouldn't he, and he never went out without his hat," Mr Hodgetts said.

    A man poses with his car

    PHOTO: Billy Hodgetts has worked on roads and stations all his life. (ABC News: Kristy O'Brien)


    The only missing thing
    Mr Sharpe at the pub raised the alarm with police when Mr Moriarty and his dog failed to turn up for their usual afternoon beers.

    Detective Sergeant Allen has confirmed police are investigating the feuds as part of their missing persons inquiry.

    A poster for a missing person

    PHOTO: A missing poster about Paddy Moriarty on the wall at Larrimah pub. (ABC News: Kristy O'Brien)


    "If the feud leads to working out what happens to Paddy, so be it. But it's not the only thing we are investigating," he said.

    Kellie is the only thing missing from Mr Moriarty's house: his car is in the drive and his reading glasses, wallet and hat ? which he always wore because he was bald ? are all accounted for. He hasn't accessed his bank accounts.

    Mr Moriarty got the dog about three months before he disappeared, not long after his last dog Rover had to be put down. The pair went everywhere together; kelpies are known for their loyalty.

    The last known person to see Mr Moriarty is a backpacker, who gave him a chicken as a gift for Kellie. The wrapper and chicken were still in the microwave when police searched Mr Moriarty's house.

    U]A thorough investigation[/U]
    Police have interviewed every resident, tourists who passed through the town, people who live on the sprawling cattle stations around the town and some previous residents.

    They've scoured the surrounding area. The local tip has been sifted, an area Mr Moriarty was known to visit on his regular morning walks with his dog.

    Police investigated the possibility of sinkholes in the limestone rock around the region, but ruled them out.

    A kelpie

    PHOTO: Kellie the dog is missing along with its owner Paddy Moriarty. (Supplied)
    A car linked to one resident was taken away and forensically searched. It has since been returned.

    Police have failed to find any relatives of Mr Moriarty, despite reaching out to the Irish police and notifying Interpol that he is missing. They haven't located any next of kin in Australia either.

    They can't rule out that their extensive searches of the surrounding bush have missed something and concede there are many places where Mr Moriarty's body could be hidden or lost.

    Detective Sergeant Allen says the evidence is not pointing to misadventure or a suicide at this stage.

    He is worried this could turn out to be something more sinister.

    The search for Kellie
    Detective Sergeant Allen hopes the dog is still alive and it may have been taken to a dog shelter interstate, or adopted by an unsuspecting new owner.

    "I want to reach out to all dog shelters, animal shelters, vets or any person who's come across or is a new owner of a red kelpie cross, about 12 months old, anywhere in Australia," Mr Allen told the ABC.

    Police describe Kellie as having big ears, a white chest and a small white patch on the nose.

    Detective Sergeant Allen also called for anyone who travelled in the area on December 16 who hasn't spoken to police to get in touch.

    If you have any information, call Northern Territory Police on 131 444.

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    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-2...a-test/9469622


    Paddy Moriarty's Irish family comes forward as NT police request DNA tests to confirm link
    By political reporter Anna Henderson
    Posted about 6 hours ago

    An image of Mae Screeney smiling at the camera.

    PHOTO: Mae Screeney believes she is the cousin of Paddy Moriarty's mother. (LinkedIn: Mae Screeney)

    Northern Territory Police believe they have made a breakthrough in locating the family of missing Irish-born man Paddy Moriarty, as locals raise concerns his house is being damaged by scavengers.

    Mr Moriarty disappeared on December 16 last year from the Pink Panther Hotel in the remote town of Larrimah, about six hours south of Darwin.

    Police are treating it as a suspicious missing persons case, and some people in the community believe he has been murdered.

    There is no evidence to support those claims and police have no suspects.

    Where is Paddy Moriarty?

    In Larrimah in the Northern Territory, feuds run deep and grudges hold fast. In the case of missing person Paddy Moriarty, police suspect foul play and that his missing dog Kellie holds the key to unravelling the mystery.

    Police have acknowledged that while they have comprehensively searched the bush in the area, it is still possible he went walking outside Larrimah and became lost or injured and has perished.

    Some of Mr Moriarty's friends want to access his house to mow the lawn and remove rotting food from his fridges.

    They are also concerned that petrol and other personal items belonging to Mr Moriarty have been taken by people scavenging from the abandoned house.

    Irish family comes forward

    After the ABC was interviewed by Sean O'Rourke for his morning current affairs program on Irish radio station Raidio Teilifis Eireann, a member of the Irish Moriarty family did some digging.

    A group of people with links to the Moriarty family tree now believe Mr Moriarty is a relative.

    Northern Territory police have requested DNA samples from some of them to establish whether they are blood relatives.

    Mae Screeney has contacted the ABC, and believes she is the cousin of Mr Moriarty's mother, Mary Theresa.

    Mary passed away in 1995. If this is established, Mr Moriarty was a member of a large extended family.

    Man Paddy Moriarty sitting in the tray of a utility vehicle smiling and giving a thumbs-up

    PHOTO: Paddy Moriarty disappeared from the Pink Panther Hotel in the remote territory community of Larrimah. (Supplied: Kylie Stevenson)


    Mary was from Abbeyfeale in the Irish county of Limerick, but there is no father listed on Mr Moriarty's birth certificate.

    That part of the story remains unknown, but has led Ms Screeney to believe the missing Irish-born man was born out of wedlock.

    "She [Mary] obviously called him Patrick Joseph because that was the family name," Ms Screeney said.

    "Nobody knew of this Paddy Moriarty."

    She said given Mary was unmarried, it is possible Mr Moriarty was adopted.

    "Nobody knows of this child, so what happened to Patrick Moriarty? He wasn't bought up around Abbeyfeale," Ms Screeney said.

    "None of our family know anything about him."


    Ms Screeney said Mary moved to the island of Jersey near the coast of Normandy, and it was not clear what happened to Mr Moriarty in his early years or where he grew up.

    As a teenager in the 60s, Mr Moriarty left for Australia, where he worked on stations as a "ringer" and was effectively a stockman.

    There are other likely extended family links in the United States where other members of the Moriarty family relocated.

    "Most of them ? 10 of them ? emigrated to New York," Ms Screeney said.

    She said the Moriarty family recently had a family reunion and established there were about 50 first cousins and over 100 more distant relatives in the US.

    Friends want access to Moriarty house

    Bartender and friend of Mr Moriarty, Richard Simpson, said he hoped the next of kin could be confirmed soon, so that police could grant permission for Mr Moriarty's house and yard to be cleaned up and cared for.

    Fran Hodgetts, who had a long-running feud with Mr Moriarty, is also hoping he is found.

    The disagreement centred on a rivalry over who was rightfully able to sell meat pies to tourists.

    Mrs Hodgetts' Devonshire Tea House had long sold meat pies, but in the past decade the Pink Panther pub also purchased a pie warmer and was selling the popular roadside snack.

    She has also confirmed that a gardener, known as Owen, who tends to the plants around her tea house had been questioned by police.

    She said police had forensically examined his car and found no link between the vehicle and Mr Moriarty or his kelpie dog Kellie, who has not been seen since December 16 either.

    Police have questioned all of the dozen residents in the town and searched a large radius around Larrimah on foot, quadbike and helicopter.

    They have also sifted through the local tip, where Mr Moriarty often walked his dog.

    Officers have spoken to hundreds of people and the case has garnered international attention, covered by news agencies in England and Ireland.

    Police have notified Interpol and have been working with An Garda Siochana ? Irish Police ? to try and find more about Mr Moriarty's history.

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    This article's about 2 wks old, I should've posted it before the last one

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-1...arance/9419380

    11 Feb
    A reclusive gardener is among those being questioned in relation to the disappearance of Paddy Moriarty in the remote Northern Territory outback.

    Key points:
    Gardener named Owen questioned by NT Police in search for Paddy Moriarty
    Owen was employed by Fran Hodgetts, who had a feud with Mr Moriarty
    Police found blood in Owen's vehicle, but it was unrelated to the search
    The man known as Owen has been living and working in Larrimah, where Mr Moriarty was last seen.

    He has been residing on the property owned by Devonshire Tea House proprietor Fran Hodgetts in exchange for work he completed looking after the tourist attraction's garden.

    This week on 7:30, Ms Hodgetts said she had been questioned by police and had provided statements over a period of about 12 hours so far.

    She confirmed police had thoroughly searched her Larrimah property, including the garden, septic tanks and other areas.

    Gardener keeps to himself

    Over a number of interviews with ABC News, she has also confirmed her gardener had been questioned.

    Where is Paddy Moriarty?

    In Larrimah in the Northern Territory, feuds run deep and grudges hold fast. In the case of missing person Paddy Moriarty, police suspect foul play and that his missing dog Kellie holds the key to unravelling the mystery.

    "He don't like people, he don't like media," Ms Hodgetts said when contacted as the ABC tried to reach the gardener directly.

    Ms Hodgetts defended Owen, saying there was "no way known" he had done anything wrong.

    "He's just a loner, he's a bushie," she said.

    "And he's quite happy living here with his little garden and his dog.

    "He's happy. He's a happy chappy.

    "He's a real tough old boot, that's even what the detectives said."

    She told the ABC that she wanted to protect him from unfair police and media scrutiny, and said she had known him for about six months.

    "I trust him with my life. He is so honest. He doesn't like liars," she said.

    "I said to him, 'If anything happens I'll stick with him all the way'.

    "But nothing's going to happen."

    There is no mobile reception in Larrimah. The ABC called Ms Hodgetts to request an interview with Owen, but she declined on his behalf.



    Police looking for leads

    Police are treating Mr Moriarty's disappearance as suspicious, but do not have any suspects.

    They have interviewed all the residents of the tiny isolated outpost and many former residents as they try to piece together what has happened to him.

    Crucially, they have not been provided with any witness accounts beyond Mr Moriarty's last confirmed sighting, leaving the Pink Panther Hotel in Larrimah on his quad bike with his red kelpie Kellie.

    The pub's staff estimated he had consumed 10 mid-strength beers.

    At his house there was no sign of a struggle. But his hat, wallet and reading glasses were inside, leading police to surmise that sometime on the night of December 16 he voluntarily left his home, never to be seen again.

    Gardener's car searched

    The gardener's car was taken away by police and forensically searched after Mr Moriarty went missing.

    Police found a small amount of blood in the car, but have confirmed since that they found no link between the vehicle, Mr Moriarty or his dog.

    His computer was also taken, but Ms Hodgetts said it was being returned.

    "If they found anything, he'd be gone," she told the ABC.

    "If he wanted to, he could take off in his car, and sell his car and he'd be fine because he's a bushie.

    "He's a lovely man. I love him to pieces as a person."

    Ms Hodgetts also described him as a canine lover who would never hurt a dog.

    She said the gardener had kept people off her property and was very loyal to her.


    Police are treating Paddy Moriarty's disappearance as suspicious.
    Supplied: Hans Van Veluwen


    Bitter feud in small town

    Ms Hodgetts was Mr Moriarty's neighbour across the Stuart Highway.


    The pair were locked in a bitter feud going back many years over tourism in the town.

    There was recent court mediation between them.

    Mr Moriarty is accused of sabotaging her business, stealing items from her shop, putting a dead animal under her house and warning prospective customers they would get food poisoning from eating at her restaurant.

    While police have no suspects at this time, Owen is one of a number "persons of interest".

    Ms Hodgetts laughed at the suggestion he could have done anything wrong.

    "He won't take any money or food or even Christmas presents," she said.

    In an interview with 7:30 this week, Ms Hodgetts confirmed police searched her house, pumped her septic tank, and scraped through her incinerator during their investigation.

    "They didn't find anything," she said.

    "They poked holes in all the garden. They didn't find anything. They went through my car, they didn't find anything.

    "And I speak the truth. I don't bullshit. I tell the truth and don't lie."

    The 74-year-old said despite Mr Moriarty throwing a dead kangaroo under her house and years of other attempts to sabotage her business, she has "never retaliated".

    "I can honestly swear on my mother's and father's grave ? and I'll take an oath on my life going to Katherine and back, I know nothing about the disappearance of Paddy Moriarty."

    When the alarm was first raised about Mr Moriarty's disappearance, police conducted an extensive search around Larrimah, concerned he may have met with misadventure while walking his dog.

    The investigation is now being handled by the NT Police major crime unit.

    Detective Sergeant Matt Allen said he was still hopeful someone with new information about the disappearance would come forward.


    Paddy Moriarty was last seen leaving the Pink Panther pub.

    <<snipped>>

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    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-2...om-pie/9473156

    Paddy Moriarty investigators seize hammers and hacksaw from Northern Territory pie shop
    By Anna Henderson
    Updated about 3 hours ago

    Northern Territory pie shop owner says police have seized a hacksaw and two hammers from her property, but maintains she had nothing to do with the disappearance of a missing man.

    Fran Hodgetts was a neighbour of Irish-born stockman Paddy Moriarty, who vanished in December.

    Police have no suspects but believe his disappearance may be suspicious


    The tiny isolated outpost has about a dozen residents who have all been questioned. Many properties have been searched.

    Pie shop freezer searched

    On the weekend, officers with a warrant returned to the property where Mrs Hodgetts and her gardener Owen live.

    Where is Paddy Moriarty?

    In Larrimah in the Northern Territory, feuds run deep and grudges hold fast. In the case of missing person Paddy Moriarty, police suspect foul play and that his missing dog Kellie holds the key to unravelling the mystery.

    The 74-year-old says police searched a meat freezer and took the hammers, saw and a pair of shoes.

    "They found this hacksaw and they named it and put it in a bag," she told the ABC.

    "They took his (Owen's) shoes, they wanted to leave him a pair of shoes but he said, 'no, I don't want your bloody shoes'. He'd had enough.

    "I heard them lift the lid off the freezers and heard them lift the lid down.

    "But they've found nothing, there's nothing there."

    Mrs Hodgetts has written a letter to the editor of the local paper outlining her innocence.

    "No, I did not have anything to do with the disappearance of Paddy Moriarty. No, I don't know where he is. Yes, I would like to have him found so I can sit back and say, 'Yes I told you so'," her letter said.



    VIDEO (at link): Where are Paddy Moriarty and his dog Kellie? (7.30)

    She said the gardener does not want to speak to reporters.

    "I'm angry because it's a lot of bullshit," she said.

    "He is an old man, he wouldn't hurt anybody.

    "We know nothing."

    Mrs Hodgetts has also criticised the police investigation because the search did not include officers on horseback.

    "They probably would have found him, but he probably would not have been there very long because they've got a lot of wild pigs here and a lot of wild dingos," she said.

    <<snipped>>

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    Inquests usually take ages to be held for missing person's, especially in the NT, but because many of the town's 12 residents are elderly, this one's been called pretty quickly

    This case has so much classically Straayan shit happening that I bet someone eventually makes a shite Outback murder mystery movie out of it.

    I swear it's like half the people involved stepped out of the pages of "Wake In Fright" (which was also made into a movie, the trailer's at the bottom of this post for anyone who hasn't read/seen it & doesn't get the reference)



    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-06-0...rrimah/9843756

    <<snipped>>

    Death threats and dead roos

    Larrimah resident Bobbi Roth told the hearing that when she worked for Ms Hodgetts, her boss spoke of killing Mr Moriarty.

    "She used to say, 'I'll kill Paddy'," Ms Roth told the court.

    "And she said she'd also kill her husband Bill."

    Ms Roth's husband, Carl Roth, said he also heard Ms Hodgetts make threats to "kill or bash" Mr Moriarty, but he did not believe she had any murderous intent behind the threat.

    Mr Raynor told the court it was an understatement to say the community was "fragmented", and that Mr Moriarty had described Ms Hodgetts as "a demon" in the past.

    Mr Moriarty and Ms Hodgetts lived across from each other on opposite sides of the Stuart Highway, and would hurl abuse at each other across the road, the inquest heard.

    "She detested Paddy, and likewise, but there was not a time I saw them approach each other," said Maurice Darby, who was once Ms Hodgetts' employee.


    During one of many arguments, Ms Hodgetts put a dead kangaroo on Mr Moriarty's property, so he returned the move and put it near the back of her pie ovens so it started to cook when she turned them on.

    Mr Darby said he stopped working for Ms Hodgetts because he believed she was "starting to rip people off" at her tea house.

    "You can't keep telling people they're homemade pies, when they're from Woolies? and charging them $13," Mr Darby said.

    'Paddy was my mate'
    Richard Simpson was the barman at the Pink Panther where Mr Moriarty spent most of each day, but finished working at the pub last week.

    Mr Simpson was questioned about guns at the hotel, and said he would use a shotgun to kill hawks threatening the hotel's pet birds, before feeding the animals to the Pink Panther's pet 3.5-metre crocodile.

    "Fed [them] to the crocodile, or the pythons, depending on the size of the hawk," he told the inquest.

    Three days before Mr Moriarty was last seen, Mr Simpson heard an aggressive argument between Mr Moriarty and Ms Hodgetts' companion over their dogs, which ended in Mr Moriarty threatening to "take [the man's] knees out".

    "[Ms Hodgetts] never had a good word to say about anyone," Mr Simpson said.

    Mr Currie put to Mr Simpson that some people in Larrimah believed he had something to do with Mr Moriarty's disappearance.

    "Well, they'd be damn fools," he replied.

    "Paddy was my mate, why would I?"

    Ms Hodgetts will be called as a witness on Friday when the inquest continues.



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    I knew some journo would eventually take an interest in this. It's too much like Wake In Fright with all the classic old school Australiana shit.




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    Discussion thread here + ABC commented & said all 4 episodes will be uploaded to ABC iView tomorrow


    https://m.facebook.com/story.php?sto...composer=false




    Edit : the grandson of one of the suspects is also in the comments, defending her against allegations that Paddy was dismembered, minced & baked into the meat pies she sells from her cafe in Larrimah




    He's for real, that's definitely the cafe lady in his header pic


    https://m.facebook.com/brent.cilia
    Last edited by blighted star; 12-02-2018 at 03:00 AM.

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    This is lonnng

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-12-...ghway/10575078


    Could the disappearance of Paddy Moriarty end up unravelling an entire town?
    By Anna Henderson and Neda Vanovac in Larrimah
    Updated about 2 hours ago



    PHOTO: The disappearance of Paddy Moriarty and his kelpie Kellie remains a disturbing mystery. (ABC News: Tim Madden)


    RELATED STORY: A feuding town, a missing man and the red dog that could solve this outback mystery
    It's hard to imagine how anyone could keep a secret in a town as tiny as Larrimah.

    Here, 10 residents live within spitting distance of each other on a featureless stretch in Australia's remote outback, 500 kilometres down the Stuart Highway from Darwin.

    But almost a year on from the day locals first raised the alarm, the disappearance of Larrimah man Paddy Moriarty, 70, and his kelpie Kellie remains a disturbing mystery.

    Despite extensive searches, public appeals and a coronial inquest, police appear no closer to unravelling the truth.

    Larrimah ? already a dysfunctional tangle of disputes and disagreements ? is now in a state of disarray.

    Long-time local publican Barry Sharpe has sold his Pink Panther-themed watering hole, along with his large pet saltwater crocodile Sneeky Sam.

    A man stands behind a metal fence as he holds a chicken over an enclosure while his large pet crocodile rises to snatch it.


    PHOTO: Long-time local publican Barry Sharpe sold his large pet saltwater crocodile Sneeky Sam. (ABC News: )


    Up the highway, the Devonshire tea house advertising scones along with buffalo and camel pies remains open, but proprietor Fran Hodgetts says the last year has taken a devastating toll on her health and her business.

    There are others contemplating a "permanent break".

    Last year one man and his dog vanished. But almost all of Larrimah, as it exists now, could be swallowed up in the wake.

    Police have interviewed every resident. All say they had nothing to do with Paddy's disappearance.

    There are persons of interest being investigated outside of Larrimah.

    Each resident has their own theory about what may have happened.

    Lead investigator Detective Sergeant Matt Allen is treating it as an unsolved homicide.

    While he can't completely rule out misadventure he feels compelled to consider the "worst-case scenario."

    "Somebody out there knows what happened to Paddy and Kellie," he said.

    "It's difficult for people to keep secrets; often they want to tell someone."


    PHOTO: Detective Sergeant Matt Allen is vowing to continue the search for any evidence of Paddy or his dog Kellie. (ABC News: Terry McDonald)


    Foul play

    There are a lot of ways to go missing in the outback.

    Larrimah's remaining residents have had plenty of time to mull them over.

    "Wild pigs. Dingoes ? crocodiles. There's plenty of ways to get rid of a body, isn't there?" mused the oldest local, Len Hodson, 82.

    Such disappearances aren't unknown in the NT ? the Stuart Highway fairly vibrates with stories of murder and mayhem.

    "It's been going on for years where people have just disappeared off the face of the earth and no one's got an explanation for it," said Larrimah man Barry Burke, who goes by the nickname "Cookie."



    PHOTO: Barry Burke or "Cookie" as he is known around town says he fears Paddy's fate will never be known. (ABC News: Kristy O'Brien)


    According to then-bartender Richard Simpson and other witness accounts, the Irish-born pensioner spent the afternoon of December 16, 2017 at the Pink Panther Hotel.

    It's estimated Paddy drank about 10 mid-strength beers over a number of sweltering hours, just a couple of cans above his daily average.

    As the sun was setting, he fired up his red quad bike and departed, his kelpie riding shotgun.

    A few hundred metres from the pub, in his own home, police say evidence confirms Paddy microwaved some leftover chicken for his kelpie and prepared some frozen dim sims for himself.

    And then, with no sign of a struggle or suggestion of a planned exit, the man and his red dog were gone.

    If there's one thing that unites the estranged residents of this place, it's that they all believe Paddy is dead, most probably killed.

    Why are they so convinced there's been foul play?


    PHOTO: Publican Barry Sharpe says Paddy Moriarty did odd jobs at the Pink Panther in the mornings and spent his afternoons sipping mid-strength beers. (ABC News: Neda Vanovac)


    To understand that, you have to understand Paddy Moriarty.

    And you need to understand an isolated spot where emotions run high, feuds run long, and personalities are larger than life.

    Until they're not.

    And when something goes wrong, it can go wrong on a spectacular scale.

    As publican Barry Sharpe puts it: "10 people live in this town; to my way of thinking, one of them's a murderer."


    YOUTUBE: Watch the first episode of our new YouTube series on the disappearance of Paddy Moriarty.
    Tourist trap


    The abundant plush toys in Larrimah outnumber the residents by at least 10 to one.

    Grinning stuffed pink panthers ride bicycles in the pub beer garden, while ageing teddies adorn the entrance.

    At the tea house, they hang from the rafters, arranged in formation on tables, sit around a miniature picnic bench, and are even sometimes given as gifts to those who stop in for a meal.



    PHOTO: The abundant plush toys in Larrimah outnumber the residents by at least 10 to one. (ABC News: Neda Vanovac)


    Larrimah is situated on the dead-straight artery running down the guts of Australia from Darwin to Port Augusta.

    Most tourists don't see these decorations; they barely slow down as they whizz past at 80 kilometres per hour, preferring to take a break at the hot springs north in Mataranka or at the quirky pub south in Daly Waters.

    Larrimah flourished during the boom of World War II, but has steadily declined.

    Some speak wistfully of the days when there were 40 or 50 residents, and children played in the park.

    There were Irish Ashes held every year, and a big Christmas do.

    But kids grew up and people moved away, until fewer than a dozen were left, most of them now aged in their 70s. All are white. Only three are women.

    "Larrimah, you need to see it to believe it," Detective Sergeant Allen said.

    "There's no mobile phone reception. You can't even pull up and get fuel for your car there."

    For those who live here, this state of isolation is normal. But outsiders see it differently.

    English comedian and journalist Dom Joly went to the town more than a decade ago, to film part of a documentary series.

    "Larrimah is like nowhere else I think I've ever been; it's like if you dropped a kind of weird bar in a post-apocalyptic sort of scenario," he told the ABC.



    PHOTO: Larrimah flourished during World War II, but has steadily declined.
    (ABC News: Neda Vanovac)


    The pub's exterior crawls with fuchsia bougainvillea, while a giant seated concrete Pink Panther statue sits in a lawn chair next to a huge beer bottle, nursing a Territory stubbie.



    <<snipped>>

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    continued ...


    "I've stayed in a lot of places, in weird places in the world: North Korea, Syria, The Congo ? and the Larrimah is up there on remoteness, weirdness," Mr Joly said.

    "But it was a decent place and the people were brilliant."

    The series includes a scene where the international visitors and local drinkers get into a verbal bar brawl over the best word for being drunk.

    "Rat-arsed" and "wankered" are options shouted across the room, with a Territory competitor offering up "circumcised with a VB lid".

    Among the local revellers, was a recognisable moustachioed figure, Paddy Moriarty perched on a bar stool. He was a feature of this irreverent environment, a daily visitor to the pub.

    "He was part of the hotel, he was the greeter if you like, the concierge," the local mechanic Mark Rayner said.


    PHOTO: Paddy Moriarty drank at the pub every day. (Supplied: Barry Sharpe)


    But how had a man born in the cold, wet south-west of Ireland ended up living in this tiny place in the Australian tropics in the middle of nowhere?

    International man of mystery

    Paddy Moriarty was a teenager when he stepped onto the Fairstar passenger ship in Europe in 1966 and set sail for Australia.

    "He came from Ireland, and there was some pretty wild men back in those days," said David Graham, a regular at Larrimah's pub.

    Little is known of Paddy's family history: he was born in Limerick.

    His mother Mary Teresa Moriarty has died. No father was listed on his birth certificate.

    Australian police searches have turned up no evidence of siblings or children. He never married.

    "I've never had a missus, just me dog, no dramas," he's quoted as saying in a 2013 book.


    PHOTO: Paddy Moriarty and his previous dog Rover on the cover of the 2013 book Every Man and His Dog (Supplied: Murdoch Books)


    Back in the 1960s, Paddy went to Brunette Downs cattle station, between Tennant Creek and Mount Isa.

    "He's quite a fit fella ? he used to be a ringer ? he actually won the 1996 rodeo in Darwin," said Detective Sergeant Allen.

    After decades of stockwork, Paddy turned up in Larrimah more than 10 years ago.

    When he first went missing, police had little to go on to build a profile ? no computer, email, mobile phone, or social media.

    Just an old bloke with a seldom-used landline who told stories about his station life to friends and visitors at the pub.

    In the end, police notified Interpol and Irish police in the hopes of finding his family.

    An interview conducted by the ABC with the Irish public broadcaster RTE in February this year ended up unearthing a missing link.

    A listener in Limerick heard the town Abbeyfeale name-checked as Paddy's place of birth, and recognised the key detail police had to go on ? his mother's name.

    (**Copy of Irish birth certificate in article)

    Police are now confident they have located Paddy's extended family.

    Two people agreed to do DNA testing. Police think that while they are Paddy's relatives, the relationship is too distant to be reflected in the analysis.

    They're keeping the material on file in case technology improves.

    But with no confirmed links, Paddy's possessions are now in the hands of the public trustee, including his deserted house.

    In the past, travellers might have stopped in Larrimah for liquid refreshments at the pub, or a pie at the tea house.

    But now there's a new attraction, where some tourists slow and snap a photo or get out for a closer look.

    It's Paddy's abandoned property, with a missing persons poster tied to the fence.



    PHOTO: Paddy's abandoned property, with a missing persons poster outside, has become a tourist attraction. (ABC News: Neda Vanovac)


    The tuna fishing alibi

    Fran Hodgetts wakes up to that missing persons sign across this highway every day. It is visible from her bedroom window.

    Pictured is the neighbour who she's accused of making her life hell, both before he disappeared and after.

    Fran and Paddy were locked in a decade-long dispute; in an interview with former veteran ABC reporter Murray McLaughlin in 2011, Paddy admitted to telling potential customers not to eat at Fran's tea house, and encouraging travellers to buy pies from the Pink Panther instead.

    "He started stirring a lot of rubbish, he was carting yarns from here over to the pub," Fran said.

    Paddy had a vested interest, of course. He spent most afternoons at the hotel and he also helped out in the mornings cleaning the pub's toilet block.

    Back in 2011, Paddy declared Fran's pies were of such poor quality his dog wouldn't eat them.

    "Fran's got the worst pies and I'll f***ing tell you that," he said, chuckling and sipping his beer.

    Barry wrote off Paddy's messing with Fran as "larrikin behaviour."

    But Fran's version of events is much darker.

    She claims Paddy sabotaged her business, stealing her sun umbrella, putting crushed glass under customers' tyres, dumping dead kangaroos on her property, and poisoning expensive plants in her garden.

    She called the police numerous times.



    PHOTO: Fran Hodgetts said police searched her property and seized items including a hacksaw, but she strongly denies any knowledge of what happened to her neighbour. (ABC News: Neda Vanovac)


    A few months before Paddy's disappearance, Fran had hired a new gardener for her business, Owen Laurie.

    Owen rarely left the teahouse property. Most locals didn't have a clue what he looked like.

    When Paddy went missing, police spent the 2017 Christmas break interviewing everyone in town.

    Because of the history between Paddy and Fran, officers closely questioned Fran and Owen, conducted forensic searches of the property, drained her septic tank, and took away Owen's laptop and car.

    Those investigations have not led to any arrests, and both Owen and Fran deny having anything to do with Paddy's disappearance.

    "I don't believe in retaliation," Fran declared two weeks after Paddy disappeared.

    "I believe in karma."

    She said she and Owen were home the night their neighbour was last seen.

    But she maintains she didn't hear anything unusual.

    She said she told police she recalls watching a tuna fishing documentary in her bedroom, and she would have spied anything strange over the highway from her window.

    That's significant, because in Larrimah, sound carries.



    PHOTO: The plants at Fran's Devonshire Tea House are tended by gardener Owen Laurie. (ABC News: Neda Vanovac)



    Silent treatment

    The clash of the neighbours at the top end of town wasn't the only disagreement in Larrimah.

    Ask any resident whether they all get along, and they shake their heads.

    Retired fire and rescue volunteers Karl and Bobbie Roth, who still keep their hard hats by the door, stay largely to themselves and steer clear of the pub.

    Fran hasn't set foot in the pub for 10 years, and accuses Barry and his regulars of trying to drive her out of town.

    She's very upset by her characterisation in the media, since news of the pie wars came to light, as a "pie lady".

    "I'm not a pie lady," she insisted.

    "Call me a scone lady, I don't care. Call me a Devonshire tea lady, that's what I am. Even though my pies are famous."



    PHOTO: Fran Hodgett has been leaving pies off the menu and focusing on scones since the disappearance of Paddy Moriarty. (ABC News: Neda Vanovac)


    Len Hodson and Fran's ex-husband "Billy Light Can" Hodgetts can often be found at the pub.

    They agree that in a town of 10, many people studiously avoid each other.

    "It just doesn't work," Len said of the clashing personalities.

    "You get that in all small towns, I think."

    Cookie said he's been banned from the pub for stealing chocolate bars, a charge he strongly denies.

    He claims the accusation is absurd because he has "sugar diabetes".

    Cookie and Paddy didn't always get along; he said Paddy was the kind of bloke "who'd cause trouble in an empty house".

    "I had a couple of run-ins with him, he was bad news in his own way," he said.

    "He done more harm to himself than anyone else because he just dribbled a whole lot of shit."

    Cookie said Paddy got mouthy after a few beers.

    "He used to piss me off and I'd want to grab him by the neck and break his bloody neck ? but it never happened," he said.



    PHOTO: Larrimah's oldest resident Len Hodson says personality clashes are part and parcel of small town life. (ABC News: Neda Vanovac)

    <<snipped>>

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    continued ...



    The letter

    Of all the odd details about the Paddy case, it was the fact that there was also no trace of his red and brown kelpie Kellie that cemented police suspicion.

    "The dog would have come back," Larrimah's mechanic and close friend Mark Rayner said firmly in answer to the question of whether there could be an innocent explanation.

    About six weeks into the investigation, once the helicopter and ground searches were abandoned, police tried a different approach.

    Detective Sergeant Matt Allen made a public appeal to any animal shelters ? including interstate ? that may have recently acquired a kelpie matching Kellie's description.

    "I actually received an anonymous letter from someone suggesting I do that," said Detective Sergeant Matt Allen has now told the ABC.

    The appeal was unsuccessful. No sign of Kellie has ever been found.



    PHOTO: One of the few photos of Kellie, Paddy Moriarty's kelpie. Other photos show him with his previous black and white dog, Rover (Supplied)


    The investigating officer is now calling for whoever penned that letter to come forward.

    "If you did write the anonymous letter to me, detectives would like to speak to you," he said.

    Police have searched houses and backyards, including a visual inspection of crocodile Sneeky Sam's enclosure at the pub, sifted through the local dump, and taken hammers and a hacksaw from Fran's tea house.

    Officers have taken no action in relation to that search. Fran said the hacksaw was used to cut up dog meat.

    Police returned to Larrimah on the Mother's Day weekend in May to conduct another land search around the town including on horseback.

    But none of that led anywhere, either.



    PHOTO: Police searches included an inspection of Sneeky Sam's enclosure. (ABC News: Neda Vanovac)



    The virus


    For a town where locals keep strictly to themselves, an inquest in June this year, six months after Paddy vanished, was uncomfortably crowded.

    Almost everyone in Larrimah was called to give evidence at the Katherine Courthouse for a fast-tracked coronial inquest brought forward due to the "advanced age" of most residents.

    "It is likely that someone in Larrimah has evidence that might be helpful in establishing what happened to Paddy," counsel assisting the Coroner Kelvin Currie told the court.

    Bobbie Roth told the court that when she worked in Fran's kitchen, Fran had threatened to kill Paddy.

    Her husband Karl was questioned about those comments and said he thought it was a throwaway line and there was no plan behind it.

    When that evidence was later put to Fran on a sweaty October afternoon at her tea house, she laughed it off.

    "Everyone says it," she said.

    "You say, 'you do that again and I'll kill you'; matter of speech, I couldn't hurt a flea.

    "If you're going to do it, you're not going to run around telling everybody you're gonna kill him."


    PHOTO: Tea house gardener Owen Laurie told the inquest he knew nothing about the disappearance of Paddy Moriarty. (ABC News: Lucy Marks)


    Her gardener Owen Laurie told the inquest he had heard stories from Fran about her disagreements with Paddy, and her suspicions that he poisoned her plants.

    But he told the court he was joking when he said: "If anyone touches my garden it will be the first murder in Larrimah."

    Both Owen and Fran protested to the coroner that they were too infirm to have killed Paddy.

    "I couldn't do it anyway, I'm f**king riddled with arthritis, imagine me carrying the dog, come on," Fran said.

    "I've got osteoporosis, mate," said Owen.

    "If I did something violent like that it would break all my bones."

    Owen agreed that a few days before Paddy went missing, his dog Kellie ran across the road near Fran's garden and the two men had a disagreement.

    But he said it wasn't aggressive.



    PHOTO: Paddy Moriarty's ute and quad bike parked in his backyard, another reason police suspect something sinister. (ABC News: Kristy O'Brien)


    Owen's computer was seized and analysed by police, revealing he had a reason to step out of the tea house property to use the public phone located on the highway on the night Paddy went missing.

    The records showed something that had not been raised publicly before the inquest.

    He received a computer virus alert message and two outgoing calls were made from the public phone box at 6.30pm and 6.31pm, both to the number provided in the message.

    That was at about sunset, when witnesses recall Paddy and Kellie leaving the pub for the last time.

    "Whilst you were there, either near the front of the property or the phone box, did you see Paddy coming home from the pub on his red quad bike with his dog Kellie on the back?" Counsel assisting Kelvin Currie asked.

    "No," Owen replied.

    Later his Owen's barrister Matthew Littlejohn asked him if he had anything to do with Paddy's disappearance.

    "No," was his response.



    PHOTO: The Irish-born pensioner whose vanishing made international headlines. (Supplied)
    What's left


    A year after Paddy vanished, Larrimah seems as though it's shrunken in on itself.

    Residents agree that the whole vibe has changed.

    Bartender Richard got booted from the pub for drinking as much as he was serving, and left town.


    PHOTO: Former bartender Richard Simpson has left Larrimah. (ABC News: Kristy O'Brien)


    Barry has prostate cancer, and sold the pub at the end of October, along with almost his entire menagerie ? although the crocs are staying.

    Mark Rayner and his wife Karen are thinking about moving on. So is Cookie, who has a girlfriend in Tasmania.



    PHOTO: Richard Simpson with Barry Sharpe in January. (ABC News: Kristy O'Brien)
    Len, who's 82, says he owns property down south.
    <<snipped>>

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    continued


    But Billy Hodgetts isn't going anywhere, and neither is his neighbouring ex-wife.


    PHOTO: Billy Hodgetts is one of the residents who wants to remain in Larrimah. (ABC News: Kristy O'Brien)
    Fran revealed during the inquest that she has been recently diagnosed with breast cancer.

    "I hear from people that 'when this is over, Fran, are you going to leave?' I said, 'I'm not going anywhere'," she said.

    "I'll die here."

    During the police investigation, Fran was also questioned about another missing persons case, that of New Zealand man Jamie Herdman.

    She was one of the last people to see him before he vanished and the case was raised by police when Paddy disappeared.

    "Oh, now I'm a bloody serial killer?" Fran recalls responding.

    Mr Herdman was 26 years old when he went missing from the Stuart Highway in 2006 and had visited the tea house just beforehand.

    Fran said she gave him sandwiches and he "didn't look well".

    She denied any link to his disappearance and said she even put up missing posters to help find him and was thanked by his family for her efforts.

    Detective Sergeant Allen said there was "no evidence to indicate any link whatsoever between these two cases".


    PHOTO: Fran Hodgetts and her grandson Brent at the teahouse. (ABC News: Neda Vanovac)
    Larrimah up in lights


    Since Paddy's disappearance, things have shifted in town. Despite half the residents planning to leave, others are moving in.

    Fran's 24-year-old grandson recently arrived in Larrimah to help run the tea house. He's brought the age average down by decades and propped the population back up to 11.

    There's change in the air from outside, too.

    In late October, the Wubalawun people won an 18-year fight for native title rights over Larrimah, gaining one-square-kilometre of ownership covering the town.

    Traditional owner Jimmy Wavehill helped lodge the claim seven years ago.

    "We help each other, we do our best, and we got our country back," he said.

    Claimant Alan Moroney said there was a lot of untapped potential and his people are considering mango farming, preservation of species such as the Gouldian finch, and starting Aboriginal ranger programs.

    "Now we can open up to places that have never been opened up before," he said.

    He has his eye on the northern end of town, where Paddy lived, to build new houses.

    "Bring our children back home, they [can] run the town," he said.


    PHOTO: Jimmy Wavehill says the Wubalawun people are looking to build houses and start businesses. (ABC News: Neda Vanovac)


    Despite Paddy's disappearance, residents say they feel safe in Larrimah.

    Fran Hodgetts does, although she's recently added new security cameras to her property and locks her doors at night.

    She wants Paddy to be found to put an end to the mystery.

    "I'm sick and tired of being the bad guy, I've got to get this monkey off my back," she said.

    Despite the loss of his mate, Barry from the pub feels safe, too.

    "It's not somebody going around belting people on the head, I put it down to a deliberate target on Paddy, it's no random psychopath running around the place," he said.

    In life, Paddy was a memorable fixture at a dilapidated outback drinking hole.

    But in suspected death, his name has been plastered across some of the biggest mastheads in the world: The New York Times, The Guardian, The Times of London.

    The story of his vanishing, and the strange, ferocious small-town hatreds that swirl around this landscape have captivated audiences across the world and been the subject of the Walkley Award winning podcast Lost in Larrimah.

    "I think Larrimah was a place before that no one really cared about," said podcast co-creator Kylie Stevenson.

    "Since Paddy's disappearance it's really kind of made a name for itself which is quite sad.

    "They've had journalists from all over the world turning up, knocking on their doors asking them questions, tourists ask them questions.

    "Everyone kind of wants to know what happened, everyone has a theory on the mystery.

    "That's how they have to live now … fielding those questions from people who are intrigued."


    PHOTO: An award-winning podcast was released earlier this year on Paddy Moriarty's disappearance and life in Larrimah. (Supplied: The Australian)


    Recently an American film crew flew in with plans to make an extended documentary.

    And Paddy's relatives in the UK have also been approached by a reality television production house keen to tell the story.

    With a rueful smile, Karen Rayner acknowledges Paddy would have liked all the attention.

    "He always wanted to be famous," she said.

    "But not like this."


    PHOTO: Larrimah local Karen Rayner says Paddy Moriarty was loved and is greatly missed. (ABC News: Neda Vanovac)


    Subscribe to the YouTube series A Dog Act: Homicide on the Highway.
    If you have any information that could help the police investigation into the disappearance of Paddy Moriarty please call Crimestoppers on 1300 333 000.

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    continued


    But Billy Hodgetts isn't going anywhere, and neither is his neighbouring ex-wife.


    PHOTO: Billy Hodgetts is one of the residents who wants to remain in Larrimah. (ABC News: Kristy O'Brien)
    Fran revealed during the inquest that she has been recently diagnosed with breast cancer.

    "I hear from people that 'when this is over, Fran, are you going to leave?' I said, 'I'm not going anywhere'," she said.

    "I'll die here."

    During the police investigation, Fran was also questioned about another missing persons case, that of New Zealand man Jamie Herdman.

    She was one of the last people to see him before he vanished and the case was raised by police when Paddy disappeared.

    "Oh, now I'm a bloody serial killer?" Fran recalls responding.

    Mr Herdman was 26 years old when he went missing from the Stuart Highway in 2006 and had visited the tea house just beforehand.

    Fran said she gave him sandwiches and he "didn't look well".

    She denied any link to his disappearance and said she even put up missing posters to help find him and was thanked by his family for her efforts.

    Detective Sergeant Allen said there was "no evidence to indicate any link whatsoever between these two cases".


    PHOTO: Fran Hodgetts and her grandson Brent at the teahouse. (ABC News: Neda Vanovac)
    Larrimah up in lights


    Since Paddy's disappearance, things have shifted in town. Despite half the residents planning to leave, others are moving in.

    Fran's 24-year-old grandson recently arrived in Larrimah to help run the tea house. He's brought the age average down by decades and propped the population back up to 11.

    There's change in the air from outside, too.

    In late October, the Wubalawun people won an 18-year fight for native title rights over Larrimah, gaining one-square-kilometre of ownership covering the town.

    Traditional owner Jimmy Wavehill helped lodge the claim seven years ago.

    "We help each other, we do our best, and we got our country back," he said.

    Claimant Alan Moroney said there was a lot of untapped potential and his people are considering mango farming, preservation of species such as the Gouldian finch, and starting Aboriginal ranger programs.

    "Now we can open up to places that have never been opened up before," he said.

    He has his eye on the northern end of town, where Paddy lived, to build new houses.

    "Bring our children back home, they [can] run the town," he said.


    PHOTO: Jimmy Wavehill says the Wubalawun people are looking to build houses and start businesses. (ABC News: Neda Vanovac)


    Despite Paddy's disappearance, residents say they feel safe in Larrimah.

    Fran Hodgetts does, although she's recently added new security cameras to her property and locks her doors at night.

    She wants Paddy to be found to put an end to the mystery.

    "I'm sick and tired of being the bad guy, I've got to get this monkey off my back," she said.

    Despite the loss of his mate, Barry from the pub feels safe, too.

    "It's not somebody going around belting people on the head, I put it down to a deliberate target on Paddy, it's no random psychopath running around the place," he said.

    In life, Paddy was a memorable fixture at a dilapidated outback drinking hole.

    But in suspected death, his name has been plastered across some of the biggest mastheads in the world: The New York Times, The Guardian, The Times of London.

    The story of his vanishing, and the strange, ferocious small-town hatreds that swirl around this landscape have captivated audiences across the world and been the subject of the Walkley Award winning podcast Lost in Larrimah.

    "I think Larrimah was a place before that no one really cared about," said podcast co-creator Kylie Stevenson.

    "Since Paddy's disappearance it's really kind of made a name for itself which is quite sad.

    "They've had journalists from all over the world turning up, knocking on their doors asking them questions, tourists ask them questions.

    "Everyone kind of wants to know what happened, everyone has a theory on the mystery.

    "That's how they have to live now ? fielding those questions from people who are intrigued."


    PHOTO: An award-winning podcast was released earlier this year on Paddy Moriarty's disappearance and life in Larrimah. (Supplied: The Australian)


    Recently an American film crew flew in with plans to make an extended documentary.

    And Paddy's relatives in the UK have also been approached by a reality television production house keen to tell the story.

    With a rueful smile, Karen Rayner acknowledges Paddy would have liked all the attention.

    "He always wanted to be famous," she said.

    "But not like this."


    PHOTO: Larrimah local Karen Rayner says Paddy Moriarty was loved and is greatly missed. (ABC News: Neda Vanovac)


    Subscribe to the YouTube series A Dog Act: Homicide on the Highway.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5prLvsrXUs4

    If you have any information that could help the police investigation into the disappearance of Paddy Moriarty please call Crimestoppers on 1300 333 000.


    This is the iView link to all 4 episodes but you might need to use a VPN to view it from Australia

    https://iview.abc.net.au/show/dog-ac...on-the-highway
    Last edited by blighted star; 12-02-2018 at 03:09 PM.

  14. #14
    Senior Member blighted star's Avatar
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    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-12-...eturn/10592302
    Paddy Moriarty investigation continues as police return to Larrimah, collect DNA sample
    By National Regional Affairs Reporter Anna Henderson
    Posted 51 minutes ago

    Northern Territory police have returned to the remote outpost of Larrimah as they continue investigating the disappearance of 70-year-old Paddy Moriarty and his dog.

    Police have confirmed they travelled to the town, 500 kilometres south of Darwin, on Tuesday and Wednesday this week and spoke to residents again.

    The ABC understands one resident supplied a DNA swab. Police would not provide any further details.

    About a dozen people are living in Larrimah at the moment.

    Detectives are investigating the vanishing of Mr Moriarty and his red and brown kelpie dog almost a year ago.

    The pair left the Pink Panther pub at sunset on December 16, 2017 and since then, there have been no confirmed sightings of the Irish-born pensioner.

    Police are treating the disappearance as an unsolved homicide.

    Detectives have confirmed they also inspected a property outside Larrimah, following a report part of a fence had been damaged.

    All residents of Larrimah deny having any involvement in the disappearance.

    Police are also investigating persons of interest outside Larrimah.

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    https://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2018-...iarty/10623984




    Paddy Moriarty's Larrimah house contained a series of clues which led police to suspect homicide

    BY NATIONAL REGIONAL AFFAIRS REPORTER ANNA HENDERSON
    UPDATED ABOUT 7 HOURS AGO



    Today, one year ago, is the last time there was evidence that Paddy Moriarty was inside his outback home, on the fringe of the Stuart Highway, in the remote Northern Territory.

    He and his trusty kelpie Kellie have vanished.

    Police are treating it as an unsolved homicide.


    Now, for the first time, images taken by Northern Territory police inside his deserted home have been released to the ABC.

    They show the physical evidence that helped stoke fear within the police force, and among other residents in the tiny town of Larrimah, that he is dead and may be the victim of a homicide.

    The barbecue chicken

    The remains of a barbecue chicken in its original bag sit inside an open microwave, on a cluttered counter

    PHOTO Leftovers of a barbecue chicken were in a microwave in Paddy Moriarty's Larrimah house.
    SUPPLIED: NT POLICE

    A passing tourist gave Mr Moriarty the remnants of a barbecued chicken they had purchased earlier that day.

    They told police the leftovers were a gift, and were handed to him as he and his dog Kellie were leaving the Pink Panther hotel at sunset on December 16 ? the last day he was seen.

    The chicken wrapper, date stamped the same day, was found inside his microwave.

    His house is a few hundred metres from the pub, across the Stuart Highway.

    The remains of a barbecue chicken in its original bag sit inside an open microwave

    PHOTO The chicken was a gift from friends at the Pink Panther hotel.
    SUPPLIED: NT POLICE

    The hats

    An old cowboy hat sitting on a fridge.


    PHOTO Mr Moriarty was almost never seen bare-headed, his friends said.
    SUPPLIED: NT POLICE
    Mr Moriarty was quite bald on top.

    His friends say he was almost never seen bare-headed.

    Yet his well-worn cowboy hat and an array of caps were left behind, his favourite sun protector placed neatly on an esky inside his house.

    The dim sims

    A bowl full of plastic bags and a takeaway container with dim sims on a copy of Rural Weekly.


    PHOTO A container of dim sims was left half-eaten on the table.
    This was a detail mentioned at the coronial inquest in June.

    A plastic container with dim sims reheated inside was left half-eaten on the table.

    The inquest called almost all the residents of Larrimah, and all have denied having anything to do with the disappearance.

    The inquest is part-heard, and no finding has been provided so far.

    There is still a possibility witnesses could be recalled, or new evidence could be taken.

    The calendar

    A calendar with dates crossed off and a rag lying on top.


    PHOTO The last date crossed off on his calendar was December 16.

    Mr Moriarty had a calendar repurposed from the previous year with the new dates written in.

    The last date crossed off was December 16, 2017 ? the last day he was seen.

    While residents came looking for him in the days after he vanished, and searched around the remote town, police say the alarm was not raised with them for 72 hours.

    But this calendar, meticulously marked off in the past, suggests Mr Moriarty was not inside his home after December 16.

    The glasses

    A pair of reading glasses and scissors on a copy of Rural Weekly.


    PHOTO Mr Moriarty was described as being in good health for his age but he did carry glasses with him.
    SUPPLIED: NT POLICE

    Mr Moriarty was 70, and it was very strange to his friends in Larrimah that he would have left his reading glasses behind if he was going somewhere.

    While he was described at the inquest as being in good health for his age, he did carry his glasses with him.

    But they were inside his house, placed on a newspaper.

    Also left behind were his keycard and his wallet, containing $225.

    No sign of a struggle


    Folded clothes and other stuff sitting on chairs, along with three caps.

    PHOTO The home was largely undisturbed.


    The house was neat and tidy and it appeared there had been no sign of a fight or forced entry.

    During the inquest, local residents Mark and Karen Rayner told the court they had gone to Mr Moriarty's house because they were worried about him.

    They could see the home was largely undisturbed.

    They felt something was wrong and began looking for him in the scrub around the town.

    After residents conducted their own searches and found no sign of Mr Moriarty or an explanation for his disappearance, they contacted police on December 19, at 4pm.

    Police arrived in Larrimah the following day and began a substantial land and air search.

    The lead investigator, Detective Sergeant Matt Allen, said he had excellent visibility from the helicopter and believed Mr Moriarty would have been spotted by him, or his officers, if he had met misadventure in the bush.

    As Christmas approached, on December 23, a medical expert advised police that there was no real likelihood Mr Moriarty would still be alive if he had simply wandered off or become lost.

    Since then police say the Irish-born local has not contacted friends or accessed any bank accounts or social services under his name, nor have any reports of sightings been confirmed.

    This case is the subject of an ABC investigation A Dog Act: Homicide on the Highway.

    The iview and YouTube series delving inside this outback missing persons file explores the petty disagreements and feuds in Larrimah that police have investigated as part of the process of establishing how and why Mr Moriarty vanished.

    Larrimah only has about 10 permanent residents.

    They remain on edge.

    No arrests have been made.

    Police have confirmed there are persons of interest in Larrimah and outside of the outpost.

    The police investigation is continuing.

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