The true story behind everyone's latest true crime obsession, Netflix's Last Stop Larrimah.

In 2017, the tiny town of Larrimah was put on the map.

Just weeks before Christmas, Paddy Moriarty and his dog Kellie left their house in the remote Northern Territory community for what would be their final time.

Their small borough, which sat alone on a long stretch of highway in the Northern Territory, had just 11 residents, a pink pub and a pet crocodile.

Overnight, the population dropped to 10. 

Almost six years on from Moriarty's disappearance, Australia is still mystified over what actually happened. Police still have the case open – and every resident is a suspect.

Now, with the release of a new documentary about the case on Netflix, the world has yet again become riveted by the remote community filled with quirky residents who either loved or loathed Paddy Moriarty.

Watch the trailer for Last Stop Larrimah, which explores the case. Post continues after video.

Video via HBO.

Moriarty was last seen on December 16, 2017 at the Larrimah Hotel – also known as the Pink Panther pub – where he and Kellie were regulars. They had been since he chose to retire and settle in the rural town nine years prior, in 2008.


He rode home on his quad bike, placed his half-eaten barbequed chicken in the microwave and then disappeared with Kellie, leaving no clues as to where he might have gone.

Following a coronial inquest, former Northern Territory coroner Greg Cavenagh said he believed the 70-year-old had likely been killed on the night he went missing.

"In my opinion, Paddy was killed in the context of and likely due to the ongoing feud he had with his nearest neighbours," he wrote in his findings, per ABC News.

"He likely died on the evening of 16 December, 2017."

Each of the 11 residents left in Larrimah became a suspect following Moriarty's disappearance. One community member who stood out, though, was Fran Hodgetts — the owner of Devonshire Tea House, which specialised in selling pies and other baked goods to tourists — who had a long and tumultuous history with her missing neighbour.

In Last Stop Larrimah, Hodgetts told director Thomas Tancred that she was given no other option than to leave Larrimah following accusations from other residents that she had murdered Moriarty.

"I had enough of everything. People driving past singing out, 'Murderer, murderer. Where’s Paddy?'" she explained.
"It was so bad because, knowing I'm such a good person... I was going through all this for nothing. That put a life sentence on me. I got the cancer through it."

Depending on who you asked, Paddy was a lovable larrikin and fiercely loyal friend – or a mean drunk and a cruel prankster. And for Hodgetts, their long-running feud set him firmly as an unholy terror in her mind, as she recalled an incident when Moriarty "flung a dead kangaroo into her bedroom".


Fran Hodgetts. Image: Jesse Gohier-Fleet/HBO. 

What their ongoing disagreements really centred around, though, was who could rightfully be allowed to sell meat pies to tourists – because while 80-year-old Hodgetts was famous for hawking her baked goods, the Pink Panther Pub (which was run by Moriarty's mates) had taken to flogging their own hot food, too.


Despite their intense rivalry, and Hodgetts' belief that "Larrimah is a better place without him", she's adamant that she did not murder him, and has denied claims she offered to pay up to $100,000 for him to be killed by a hitman during an inquest to his disappearance.

Hodgetts wasn't the only suspect among the 11 locals though.

A barman at the pub, Richard Simpson, was under close scrutiny, as were mechanic shop workers Karen and Mark Rayner.

In Last Stop Larrimah, they all point fingers away from themselves. 

"I don’t know how a stranger would’ve gone up and killed the dog. That’s the part that confused us," Karen Rayner told Tancred. "Barry or Richard Simpson could’ve patted her, only a few people. How’d you get the dog?"

Karen and Mark Rayner Image: Jesse Gohier-Fleet/HBO.


Simpson laughed off the accusation: "Yeah, 'Sorry Paddy I had to kill you for your f**king dog because I haven’t got enough of my own.' F**k me. Maybe they're misguided or don't like me. I didn't do it. Me and Paddy had a few arguments about this, that or the other, but never had a cross word that evening."

While some of the neighbours theorised that Simpson was jealous of his missing neighbour getting more shifts at the pub than him, he denied them.

"Karen and Mark said I killed Paddy because I wanted to run the Larrimah Pub and that’s really insulting because anyone who knows me knows I f**king hate working," he said. "'The Duke and Duchess', Paddy calls them, and they are not his friends no matter what they say."

Simpson continued, claiming the residents were pointing fingers for their "own f**king glory".

"[The neighbours] all went and did their individual things, made up their own little stories. 'Hell, we might even get famous out of this,'" he said. "Most of them are just doing it for their own f***ing glory.  Apart from that, what do you say? I hope it was quick. I hope it didn't f**king hurt."

Possibly the biggest suspect, though, was not Simpson or the Rayners or even Hodgetts, but Hodgetts' gardener, Owen Laurie – who most of the neighbours hadn't even heard of.


The Rayners and Simpson all claimed to have witnessed a verbal fight between Moriarty and Laurie, who was a former boxer and lived for free in Hodgetts' home as long as he took care of her gardens. 

"I saw Paddy down the road while I was sitting having my morning coffee, Kellie barking in front of him," Simpson said. 

"I couldn’t see what she was barking at. Later on that day, I was talking to Paddy and said, 'What the f**k went on down there?' and he said, 'Oh mate that f**king w**ker next door, Owen.'"

Listen to this episode of True Crime Conversations as Jessie Stephens speaks with journalist Kylie Stevenson, the co-host of the award-winning podcast Lost in Larrimah. Post continues after audio.

Karen Rayner recalled her own side of the argument too, claiming to have heard the gardener yell, "Get rid of that f**king dog, or I’ll get rid of it for you."

She continued, "Paddy put his hands on the fence, and said, 'You touch that dog, I’m gonna kneecap you.' I know that was said."

Hodgetts allowed Laurie to live in her house and do the gardening and caretaking for a while after her 50-year marriage to a local named Billy fell apart. She didn't pay him, but said his company made her "feel safe".

However, soon after Moriarty went missing, she let him go.

"I don't like to blame somebody for something they didn't do but I was worried, because Owen said to me, 'Something's going to happen,'" she recalled. 


"Also, when they were searching across the road, he said to me, 'I thought they came for me.' I didn't say nothing to him, but thought, 'Oh my god, why would he say that?'"

She added, "I think he might've known something about it and how he was with Paddy. I just put two and two together, and that's why I sacked him and told him to go. I wasn't safe with him there."

While it couldn't be proven, in 2022, police revealed new information in the form of an audio recording taken at Hodgetts' house in which a man can be heard playing the guitar and singing, "I killerated old Paddy... I struck him on the head and killerated him, basherated him. Doof. You killed Paddy up the bum... doomed him on the head, donged him on the head... smacked him on the nostrils with a claw hammer."

The recording was released by Northern Territory police, but Laurie has always denied the voice heard is his.

In any case, the case against Laurie was dropped and he refused to take part in the documentary made about Moriarty's disappearance. Without a body, it's unlikely an arrest can be made, and with a history as convoluted and secretive as Larrimah's, it looks like the town may never know the true culprit behind the disappearance of Paddy Moriarty.

Feature Image: HBO.

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