FRAN Hodgett is no murderer.
That’s the message the 75-year-old wants to make clear to anyone who will listen.
Fran has recently been outed as a prime suspect in the mysterious disappearance of Larrimah local Paddy Moriarty.
Volunteers from Katherine scoured a rubbish tip last month trying to help solve the puzzling disappearance of Mr Moriarty.
Mr Moriarty was last seen at the Larrimah Hotel at 6pm on Saturday, December 16.
Despite an extensive search of the town and surrounds, nothing has been seen of him since.
Because of a decade-long feud between the pair, police even considered Fran and her gardener as possible suspects.
They grilled her first and then searched her house, gardens and even her septic tank.
“They found nothing because there is nothing to find,” Fran says.
She wants the world to know that it was not her.
“I want to stop the rumours.
“They (police) say they have nothing on me, I’m in the clear.”
Fran complains recent television reports have painted her as a villain in the case.
“I did not have anything to do with it,” she says.
“I do want them to find him and then I can say I told you so.”
Mr Moriarty and his dog Kellie went missing with no explanation, his car, wallet and home left abandoned.
Police suspect foul play is involved.
Fran, famous for her pie-making in the small Stuart Highway town, population just eight, said she was famous in the Territory for her cooking.
“I’ve helped put Larrimah on the map,” she says.
Fran admits to the enmity between the two, going back over many years, naturally drew police to her door.
“People are trying to say I paid the gardener to bump him off, and I live just across the road from him.
“There are two possible explanations for what happened to Paddy.
“One, he wandered off into the bush, perhaps chasing his dog, I don’t know why, and became lost.
“The other is because of foul play, someone was more unhappy with him than I was.”
Fran said she had a clear conscience.
“I really hope they do find Paddy, and I hope it’s soon, because then all these rumours can finally stop.”
Fran’s letter to the Katherine Times.
I Fran Hodgett,
Known as Fran’s Tea House Larrimah would like to let the local people of Larrimah know that NO I did not have anything to do with the disappearance of Paddy Moriarty.
NO I don’t know where is he and yes I do want him to be found so I can sit back and say I told you so. If I hear anymore rumours or I get any more accusing phone calls which can be traced I will take legal proceedings.
I would like to thank the local residents and businesses for believing in me as I was in Katherine last Tuesday and stopped by those who know me which made me the happiest I’ve been in two months.
Please feel free and safe to still call in for devonshire tea or coffee and say hello.
Anyone with information is urged to contact police on 131 444 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
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