New true crime doco puts disappearance of 70-year-old Paddy Moriarty in the spotlight

Nov 11, 2023
A new true crime documentary on Netflix has focused on the disappearance of Paddy Moriarty. Source: News Video

It’s one of the most mysterious, intriguing, and as of yet, unsolved cases in recent memory. A local pub regular and part-time staff member follows his usual routine of cleaning the pub in the morning and then drinking at the bar for the rest of the afternoon.

Just before dinner time, he packs up for the day and rides his quad bike home along with his dog. It rains quite heavily that night. His absence is expected the next day but then he doesn’t turn up the day after that. For a pub regular such as him, this is a bit out of the ordinary.

Wondering where he is, the pub owner and then some of his friends go look for him at his house. They find the house completely unoccupied with dinner still in the microwave. The man and his dog aren’t there. They are never seen ever again.

In a country where 38,000 people go missing every year, sudden disappearances aren’t completely out of the ordinary. What makes this case so intriguing however is that it happened in a town with only 12 people, most of whom are elderly or semi-retired.

Patrick “Paddy” Moriarty, aged 70, went missing along with his dog, a red kelpie named Kellie, on December 16th of 2017 in the town of Larrimah in the Northern Territory. He was last seen leaving the Pink Panther pub at 4:30 pm.

An inquest in 2022 concluded that was likely killed but was not able to compellingly link any evidence to a suspect. More than five years on, the case is no closer to being solved now than it was then.

Moriarty’s disappearance has become the focus of a new documentary “Last Stop Larrimah”. At a glance, Moriarty appears to be an unlikely enemy of anyone in the town.

He’s all smiles and seems to do little out of his usual routine, essentially being semi-retired. But as the documentary reveals, appearances can be deceiving.

Moriarty had a long standing feud with local piemaker Fran Hodgetts, who accused him of poisoning her plants and even throwing a dead kangaroo through her window. However, Hodgetts has previously denied involvement and does so once again in the documentary.

Barman Richard Simpson was also interviewed as part of the documentary. He had also been accused of having murdered Moriarty, supposedly because Moriarty was working more than him at the pub. However, neither the documentary nor the coronial inquiry unearthed much to support this accusation.

Owen Laurie, the live-in gardener of Hodgetts, did not take part in the documentary. However, six months after Moriarty disappeared, police bugged the Hodgetts’ residence. They recorded a man admitting to having struck Moriarty over the head.

Laurie had previously had several verbal altercations with Moriarty. Laurie has denied that it is him on the recording and exercised the right to silence during the coronial inquiry.

The documentary was firstly released on October 8th on HBO but has recently made its way to Netflix, where it is already Number 7 on the most watched list in the UK.

Amongst those who have been following the case or lovers of true crime, the documentary is likely to raise some eyebrows and turns some heads. For those with a subscription, it can be found right on the homepage.

Disclaimer: Starts at 60 did not receive any monetary compensation for this article.

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