Disgraced former garda Paul Moody is under criminal investigation for historical sexual abuse, Independent.ie can reveal.
Moody, jailed last week for a campaign of coercive control against his ex-partner, is currently under investigation by specialist officers from a divisional Garda Protective Services Unit over serious allegations of sex offences.
The investigation is “progressing well”, a source said. It is understood to have been continuing “for some time”. Garda Headquarters declined to comment.
Last Tuesday, Moody (42) was jailed for three years and three months for his four-year campaign of harassment using threats, assaults and coercive control against his cancer-stricken ex-partner. The abuse came to light when he voluntarily handed in his mobile phone to gardaí after making a false allegation against one of her relatives.
Sources say Moody had a string of ex-girlfriends whom he met online and tried to control.
One woman who was in a relationship with him told Independent.ie this weekend of her experiences with the “controlling” narcissist.
She met him online, where so many modern romances begin. “He was really charming and funny. He just oozed confidence. He’s easily the most confident person I’ve ever met,” she said of Moody.
“From the very beginning, we just got on really well,” she says, speaking on condition of anonymity. “He was very easy to like. He told me he was a garda from the outset. He said he was on stress leave and was ‘milking it’ — those were his words.”
Within a short time of dating, the woman began to recognise some red flags. The morning after a night out together, Moody accused her of being aggressive towards him and others.
“I knew that wasn’t me, that I wasn’t that sort of person. But he told me in such a way that he made me feel like he was doing me a favour. I apologised. I couldn’t remember every aspect of the night because I’d had too much to drink. But how he was describing I behaved just didn’t sound like me. He told me I was a mess, and that I shouldn’t be dating. He mentioned gaslighting a lot. He said he had been in an abusive relationship before and he wouldn’t be tolerating that behaviour again. All I could do was apologise. Looking back now, I can see he was trying to get into my mind.”
Their relationship, which in the beginning saw the couple spend a lot of time together, began to cool after a few months. The woman began to pull back, finding some of Moody’s behaviour “exhausting” to deal with. “It just felt like he was constantly criticising me. I began to feel like a chastised child. Everything I said, he would pick me up wrong and try to use it against me. He was really into mindfulness, and doing breath work. He would go on men’s retreats. He told me was trying to help me become a better person because, according to him, I was mess.”
Moody, of Celbridge, Co Kildare, who was originally charged with 35 offences, told the woman all about the ex-partner he terrorised over four years. But in his version of events, he was the victim and his former partner the aggressor. “He led me to believe she was the one doing to him what in fact he was doing to her. He said she was aggressive and abusive. When I heard the court evidence, I literally couldn’t believe it. He had just described everything in reverse.”
Moody liked the good life, the woman says, and was a big drinker and gambler. He loved socialising.
“He had a shoe box of expensive watches and all of his clothes were designer. He had the social life of dreams, always out with his friends and at the best restaurants. He talked about his friends constantly and they were always on the phone to one another. His phone was always hopping. And everywhere we went, people knew him and liked him. He made himself out to be this lovely, caring guy. ‘I’m just a giant teddy bear’, he would say.”
When their relationship began to fizzle out, the woman tried to let him down gently. “I just began to say no when he would ask to take me out or go over to his house. He was a really big drinker and that wasn’t for me. But he made it very clear he wouldn’t be stuck for female company. He had a very high opinion of himself. He said something along the lines of, ‘You could have had it all, but you threw it all away’. He said he never fell out with ex-girlfriends, so we stayed in touch after we stopped dating.”
The woman, who does not want specifics of her relationship with Moody detailed publicly over concerns he could contact her on his release from prison, had no idea he was facing criminal charges, and she watched the news in a state of shock on Tuesday night.
“I just couldn’t believe that it was him. I definitely had a lucky escape. If I wasn’t the strong person I am, I think he could have got into my head. I just can’t believe I was such a bad judge of character. I had absolutely no idea he was this person.”
Moody had “many” girlfriends, according to a senior investigator involved in the case. “He had a different woman almost every night, women he would meet on Tinder. He was very popular with the ladies. He had more women than Caligula,” the investigator said, referencing the Roman emperor.
A number of these women helped detectives from the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI) to build the case against Moody.
While none made criminal complaints, that door remains open to them. But crucially, these ex-girlfriends confirmed a pattern of behaviour that characterised Moody as a manipulative monster.
Ultimately, though, it was arrogance that sealed his fate, when he handed in his own mobile phone to gardaí, falsely claiming that a relative of his former partner had asked him to commit a criminal act by “squaring” a ticket for a road traffic offence.
Officers from the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation were able to quickly dismiss his false accusations against the relative, who is understood to be a taxi driver, but in doing so they uncovered the litany of abuse against his terminally ill ex-partner.
When his phone was examined and damning evidence of his own criminal behaviour discovered, NBCI detectives approached his victim and she made a complaint against Moody.
“That was the beginning of the end for him. We found a lot of other women in his phone who he was attempting to coercively control too. These women were instrumental in the garda case. We are forever grateful to them,” a source said.
“Paul Moody has two children with different women. That is a classic move by someone who wants to coercively control someone. Get them pregnant so you can try and trap them.
“Everything about Moody’s life is false. He was very good at fooling everyone, particularly women, The designer watches? Fake. His house? There are moves to repossess it.
“He never did a proper day’s work in his life as a garda. In the last few months, he reinvented himself as a refurbishment specialist, doing up rich people’s homes. He liked to think he moved in the best social circles, with so-called celebrity friends.”
Among Moody’s friends are some who work in the media. He attended a James Blunt concert at Iveagh Gardens with a radio broadcaster as recently as July 10. In a video seen by this newspaper, Moody can be seen giving two fingers to the camera while singing and enjoying a drink.
He appeared not to have a care in the world, but within three weeks, he would be jailed for three years and three months.
“I think he had a lot of his friends fooled. But not all of them. Some of them knew what was coming down the tracks and stuck by him,” the source said. “But he convinced some that these charges were spurious, that it was not serious and would be thrown out of court. I wonder how many of these so-called friends of his will be visiting him in prison?”
One person who will not be making a trip to visit prisoner 116829 in jail is Mark O’Keeffe, the Dublin socialite and businessman who owns the Brown Sugar chain of hair salons and who was Moody’s best man at his wedding.
Last year, Mr O’Keeffe posted bail for Moody. In 2013, they featured together in an Irish Times lifestyle article, discussing the genesis of their friendship.
Mr O’Keeffe was unavailable for comment last week, but in June last year the businessman posted a bail surety of €8,000 for Moody, half of which was lodged with the court.
A source close to Mr O’Keeffe did speak to this newspaper about their friendship. “To say that Mark is horrified and shaken is an understatement,” she said. “He was told by Paul Moody that the charges were a big misunderstanding, that it would all come out in the wash.
“When they featured together in that Irish Times article, they were close friends. But that was nearly 10 years ago, and a lot has changed since then. They drifted apart. They live different lives. But when Mark got a call from Paul Moody’s solicitor, asking if he could post bail, he did. He believed he was innocent. He was told he would be pleading not guilty, which he originally did.”
Moody was a garda for two decades, mostly at Donnybrook and Irishtown stations in Dublin, except for a stint at the now-defunct Organised Crime Unit. Sources said he was not popular among colleagues.
With 25pc remission, which all prisoners are entitled to, irrespective of their behaviour in jail, Moody will be released in two-and-a-half years.
He had faced a maximum of five years for coercive control; given his guilty plea and lack of previous convictions, his sentence was lower than the maximum.
Moody is currently in protective isolation at Mountjoy. It is expected he will be transferred to the Midlands Prison.
This weekend, Moody’s former girlfriend is still coming to terms with the court revelations about a man with whom she once had an intimate relationship.
“If I had low self-esteem, or had been ill like his former partner, I think he could have victimised me too,” she says. “I’m not damaged by him, but I’m not completely unscathed after knowing him either.”