Saturday 22 September 2018

Police in Australia treating case of missing Irishman as 'suspicious'

Missing: Paddy Moriarty
Missing: Paddy Moriarty

Fionnuala Walsh

Police in Australia are treating "as suspicious" the case of an Irishman who vanished from a remote village, which has a population of 10 people.

Paddy Moriarty, 70, has been missing since December 16th of last year, and local police now say they are watching "persons of interest" in relation to the case.

Police were alerted of the disappearance when a local publican reported that Moriarty had not visited his pub that day, the only bar within 80 kilometres.

The pub owner, Barry Sharpe, told the NT News that he couldn’t find Moriarty or his dog at home.

"He’s got no relatives in Australia so I think he’s been done in, I really do," he said.

Police are treating the investigation as suspicious until evidence proves otherwise, and locations such as the local dump have been searched for the missing Irishman.

Paddy emigrated to Northern Territory, Australia on a steamer in 1966 aged 19, and police have been unsuccessful in tracing any Irish relatives.

When speaking to journalist Kylie Stevenson in 2016, he said his family lived in rural Ireland, they were very poor and that his life there was one of "freezing cold and poverty".

Local friend Bill Hodgetts also suspects foul play, saying Paddy is "definitely not" alive.

"Everyone’s got their ideas … he’s been gone for too long now. His car, everything, still there. Even his hat’s still at home. If he went for a walk he would’ve been wearing his hat anyway, because he was bald as a bowling ball. He wouldn’t go out without his hat."

Nearby cattle station manager Veronica Elliott said that everyone in town feels "uneasy".

"People don’t just disappear," she said.

"Whatever’s happened, it shouldn’t’ve happened. I think about him every day … he never hurt a flea, to our knowledge. He was not an evil person. He’s got lots and lots of friends."

"We’ve got serious concerns for his welfare; we’re treating the investigation as suspicious. It’s out of character, he’s set in his ways and that’s why detectives need to conduct a thorough investigation," Detective Sergeant Allen said.

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