Fran insists ‘she didn’t do it’

Larrimah's Fran Hodgetts told today's inquest she was "a lover not a fighter" and had nothing to with Paddy Moriarty's disappearance.

Larrimah's Fran Hodgetts told today's inquest she was "a lover not a fighter" and had nothing to with Paddy Moriarty's disappearance.

Colourful Larrimah local Fran Hodgetts broke down in the witness stand during the final stages of the Paddy Moriarty inquest today.

Several witnesses, residents of the outback NT town of Larrimah, yesterday said Mrs Hodgetts “detested” Mr Moriarty. 

However, Mrs Hodgetts told the inquest today her relationship with Mr Moriarty had been “neighbourly”, until he started “doing a bit of stirring”.

Mr Moriarty mysteriously vanished from the tiny town on December 16 last year, with many pointing the finger at Mrs Hodgetts.

Mr Moriarty would also abuse the customers at her Tea House, she said. 

"He used to come over my place hassling me," she said. 

"I've never abused him and I've never done anything to make him do the things he done to me." 

"Through all this I've got breast cancer, I found out a couple days ago," Mrs Hodgetts said.

Mrs Hodgetts told the inquest the $30,000 in cash, which witnesses spoke of yesterday,  she had stored at her house went “into the business”.

The inquest adjourned today with Judge Greg Cavanagh saying he would now consider his finding.

“The investigation will continue,” he said. 

Mrs Hodgetts also denied putting a dead kangaroo in Paddy's yard, just across from her place on the Stuart Highway. 

"I swear to God." 

"I couldn't lift a kangaroo."

Mrs Hodgetts said she told her new employee Owen Laurie, 71, about her past run-ins with Paddy, when he first came to maintain her garden, but she said she didn't want her new employee to hurt anyone.

She then broke down while giving her statement and Judge Greg Cavanagh asked if she wanted a break. 

“I don't want a break, I want this to be f…...g over," she said.

"I don't lie and I don't talk bullshit.

"I've been accused and abused.

"I have breast cancer now.

"I wouldn't hurt a flea. 

"This is the truth that I'm telling you today," she said. 

"Owen and I know nothing about what happened."

 "When you've been through what I've been through do you think it would take me 10 years?"

"I couldn't do it anyway, I'm riddled with arthritis.

"I couldn't carry a body and a dog

"That's not my nature, I'm a lover not a fighter.”

Owen Thomas Laurie, an ex boxer, lived on Mrs Hodgetts’ property looking after her garden in return for accommodation. 

He told the inquest today, he did not regard his role as keeping the property or Mrs Hodgetts safe. 

"I'm 71 years old... I can't be security."

He also denied much of what Mrs Hodgetts and other witnesses recounted in statements to police and at the inquest. 

Mr Laurie said he always had arguments with Mrs Hodgetts himself.

The counsel assisting the coroner, Kelvin Currie, suggested Mr Laurie went to sort things out with Mr Moriarty on the night of December 16, the night Paddy went missing.  

However, Mr Laurie said “that didn’t happen”. 

Despite admitting to having a strong temper, Mr Laurie denied knowing anything about the disappearance of Mr Moriarty. 

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