The Northern Territory news Thu 7 Apr 2022
The Northern Territory news; NewspaperNT
Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.
News Corp Australia
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News Corp Australia
Thursday April 7 2022 NEWS 05 V1 - NTNE01Z01MA Gardener allegedly admitted to killing Paddy POLICE secretly recorded tea house proprietor Fran Hodgetts former gardener Owen Laurie confessing to having killed Paddy and smacked him on the nostrils with me claw hammer, a court has heard. The chilling recordings were played in the Katherine Local Court on the final day of an inquest into the disappearance of Larrimah man Paddy Moriarty in 2017, after Mr Laurie took the stand on Wednesday. Deputy coroner Kelvin Currie said while the recordings were somewhat indistinct in places, detectives had interpreted Mr Laurie as saying that he killerated old Paddy. I struck him on the f--king head and killerated the bastard, the gardener is allegedly heard saying on the recording. I killerated old Paddy, f--king killerated him, I struck him on the f--king head and killerated him. Mr Laurie is also allegedly heard saying, Well they didnt f--king find the hammer, well they cant get me for anything. You gotta find out who fking done it, mate, thats if you dont find the f--king body, to find out who done it, he allegedly says. What, you reckon theres a body somewhere and you want to find out who done it? Then who did it? I can tell you youre not finding out, I can tell you fking repeatedly you are not finding out, you are not finding out. In another recording, he is allegedly heard remonstrating with his dog, Ruby, saying I kill pup dogs, ahaha. In response, Mr Laurie exercised his right not to answer any questions about the recordings on the basis that he may incriminate himself, but at one point he stated: I didnt say anything like that at all, at any time, at any place. Earlier, Wayne Ledwidge told the court Ms Hodgetts had offered to pay his neighbour $10,000 to get rid of Mr Moriarty following an ongoing local feud between the pair. Mr Ledwidge said he and Brian Roberts had bumped into Ms Hodgetts after he drove the elderly man from Pine Creek to Katherine to do his shopping and she called out to him. This lady approached Brian Roberts in front of the Motor Vehicle Registry, she was very loud, abrupt, and said to Brian, That bastard is still giving me a hard time, I need to get rid of him, he said. She asked Brian to, Have a think about it and Im also looking for someone to move in as the gardener. She said she did already have a gardener there but he was no good and if Brian wanted the job (he could have it). Ms Hodgetts also took the stand on Wednesday where she denied ever having met a man called Brian Roberts, who the court had heard had accused her of offering him $10,000 to kill Mr Moriarty. I dont know nothing about all this, you can put me on a lie detector if you want, but I dont know nothing, she said. I can tell you now, I never, ever, ever paid anybody or wanted to pay anybody to bump Paddy off and I swear to God, on my mothers grave, I know nothing about Paddy. Mr Ledwidge told the court the woman, who Mr Roberts told him was Fran from the pie shop, and who he later identified as Ms Hodgetts after visiting Larrimah, mentioned that she had $9000 and she could get more. (She) said she needed to get rid of him, and she would pay $10,000, he said. Mr Ledwidge said on the drive home, Mr Roberts made a comment in the car that he had a mate who would do the job for $10,000. Then, after Mr Moriarty went missing, he said Mr Roberts was at his house watching television when news of his mysterious disappearance broke. It came over the news that Paddy and his dog was missing and when that came on the news Brian blurted out, S--t, he didnt have to do the dog, he said. I was a bit shocked at the time, I sat back and I looked at him, I think he was referring to the news footage that he was sitting there viewing at the time. He immediately took off in his wheelchair and left me sitting there, he went back to his house and drove out past my house towards Katherine. Mr Ledwidge said he later learned his neighbours stepson, Chris Malouf, had been a suspect in the murder of British backpacker Peter Falconio, and Mr Roberts also claimed to know where he was buried. He said there was another incident in which the pair were watching TV at his house when footage of the man who was convicted of Mr Falconios murder, Bradley Murdoch, came on the air. Brian Roberts started yelling at my TV at news footage of Bradley Murdoch being escorted down the elevators and Brian Roberts started yelling at the TV saying He didnt do it, referring to Bradley Murdoch, He didnt do it, youve got the wrong man, he said. I was sitting at the edge of the couch looking at him, Brian was leaning forward on my couch, his eyes were wide open and he was staring at the news footage yelling at the TV saying, Youve got the wrong man, hes buried under a tree. Officer in charge of the investigation into Mr Moriartys disappearance Matt Allen said phone and financial records indicated Mr Roberts was not in Larrimah when Mr Moriarty disappeared and Mr Malouf was in Queensland. Sergeant Allan said he had passed the information about Mr Falconios murder on to his colleagues through our normal chain. Territory coroner Greg Cavanagh will deliver his findings on Thursday. SEE THE FULL COURT TRANSCRIPT AT NTNEWS.COM.AU Owen Laurie at the Katherine Local Court on Wednesday. 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