‘A rogue and troubled man’ whose conviction has seriously damaged the reputation of An Garda Síochána – Meczyki Times

Much of the abuse sent by Paul Moody, a serving garda, to his victim during their four-year relationship is unprintable on grounds of decency.

At one point he asked the woman, who was suffering from terminal cancer, to kill herself. Another time, she texted saying she hoped she had been raped. Making fun of his illness and talking about his death were frequent topics.

As the texts were read out during his sentencing, Judge Martin Nolan, who described Moody as “a vicious and disturbing man”, raised his hand to indicate he did not want to hear any more.

But even the sometimes stomach-churning messages pale in comparison to Moody’s actions.

A 42-year-old woman stole a prescription for a cancer drug, knowing she couldn’t afford to replace it. He also stole her hospital bag while she was on her way for treatment. He told her during a visit while she was in the hospital that he had only come to see her “bleed out”.

He took secret photos of her nudes and threatened to post them online. He hit her repeatedly, once leaving her to crawl out a window for help. In one voice message he threatened to stab her.

During their relationship Moody sent more than 30,000 messages, the equivalent of two volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica. In one 14-hour period in July 2018, he sent 652 messages, or one every 90 seconds.

There are elements of the case which cast An Garda Síochána in the worst possible light. At the beginning of the relationship, Moody used his position to gain information about the woman so that he could present himself as her ideal partner.

He later tracked down his friends on the Plus system and threatened to blackmail them with the information he got. As a result, the victim has become fearful of seeing a garda on the street or even walking past a garda station.

An important detail perhaps goes towards minimizing the damage to the reputation of An Garda Síochána.

Once detectives learned that the woman was being abused by Moody, they aggressively investigated and did everything they could to encourage her to come forward.

Moody’s Defense described his 20 years of exemplary service to the Garda. Given the scale and horrific nature of his affront to a woman, questions will surely now be asked as to how good the service was.

Colleagues on Tuesday spoke of a vain man, “a guy who loved himself” and an “arsehole”. One described rolling his eyes to the heavens when Moody arrived at the station one day with his hair dyed blonde and heavily styled.

“A seriously sharp dresser” and “very, very fashion conscious” was how Moody’s friend described her in 2013 interviews. “Paul doesn’t have a temper, he doesn’t have an aggressive bone in his body, he’s generous to a fault, a great supportive friend,” he added.

Moody, of course, was no stranger to the criminal courts before his arrest in 2021. Perhaps its most notable arrest was of two men who drunkenly set off a yacht in the Liffey in 2017, disrupting the shipping lane.

The unusual case attracted considerable attention and Moody made sure television cameras caught him coming out of court afterwards. Then he had been in a relationship with the woman for a month.

In the context of Moody’s breach, a sentence of three years and three months seems indescribably light. But Judge Martin Nolan, himself a former garda, was limited in the sentence he could impose.

The offense of coercive control, which was introduced in 2019, carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and the judge was obliged to apply a standard 25 per cent deduction for the plea of ​​guilty.

He took an additional six months off in light of Moody’s mitigation, including his lack of prior convictions and the fact that he would face stiff prison time because of his job.

Many will wonder why Moody is still at large now that he has been convicted. Last night, officers at Garda headquarters were awaiting the arrival of his letter of resignation as it would rule out the need to sack him through a disciplinary process.

Either way, Moody’s pension is secure. “The system was not designed for such cases,” an official said. “It’s very disappointing.”