A crucial witness in the investigation looking into the disappearance of Paddy Moriarty — who vanished  two years ago  — has died.
A crucial witness in the investigation looking into the disappearance of Paddy Moriarty — who vanished two years ago — has died.

Paddy Moriarty’s Larrimah mystery – two years on

A crucial witness in the investigation looking into the disappearance of Paddy Moriarty - who vanished from a small Territory town two years ago today - has died.

The NT News can reveal the former publican of the Larrimah Hotel, Barry Sharpe, died 10 days ago after a battle with cancer.

The news comes as Fran Hodgetts, Moriarty's neighbour and sworn enemy, has left the town for Melbourne to receive treatment for breast cancer. It's unlikely she'll return.

Larrimah is now a pit stop for tourists, who gawk and hassle the residents for information about Moriarty.

Moriarty left the Pink Panther Hotel on December 16, 2017 with his puppy, Kellie, after an afternoon sipping beer and was never seen again. Mr Sharpe was one of Moriarty's best mates and the two were known to spend an afternoon in his pub having a few quiet beers.

Publican Barry Sharpe – pictured at the Pink Panther Hotel in Larrimah – passed away last Saturday, December 7. Picture: Amos Aikman/The Australian
Publican Barry Sharpe – pictured at the Pink Panther Hotel in Larrimah – passed away last Saturday, December 7. Picture: Amos Aikman/The Australian

 

Mr Sharpe sold the Larrimah Wayside Inn Caravan Park also known as the Pink Panther Hotel late last year.

The new publican, who didn't want to be named said the long held feuds between the residents had waned over the last two years. "I bought the pub a year ago and everybody comes to the pub now," he said.

"They all wanted to tell a story but I didn't want to hear it." He said the town had seen an increase in curious tourists. "I would say there would have been an increase, how much, I'm not sure," he said.

Missing person poster.
Missing person poster.

But it isn't just tourists who have flooded the town, several American production companies have made the journey to report on the missing person case.

He said there was capacity to grow the town with several unoccupied homes on the market. The youngest resident is Ms Hodgetts' grandson, Brent Cilia. The 25-year-old traded the hustle and bustle of Melbourne to help his grandmother out with the shop.

He's now running Fran's Devonshire Tea House and plans to stay long term to carry on his grandmother's legacy.

 

 

Daily, he deals with the questions and insults from travellers about where Paddy is. "I know nan had nothing to do with it that's what makes me at ease," he said.

A police spokeswoman said the search for Moriarty was a challenging long-term missing person investigation with suspicious circumstances. "Unfortunately the whereabouts of Paddy and his dog Kellie remain unknown," the spokeswoman said.

"Detectives still want to hear from the public in relation to what happened to Paddy."



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