Hairdresser terrorised by garda partner as she battled stage 4 cancer opens up about ordeal

A woman terrorised by a garda as she battled stage four cancer has spoken out about her ordeal – declaring: “I feel very lucky to be alive.”

Paul Moody was last year jailed for three years and three months for the coercive control of his on-off partner Nicola.

The Dublin-born hairdresser relives the reign of terror she endured in an upcoming documentary to air on RTE One next week.

Nicola, 44, reveals how Moody: left her to crawl off a beach at eight months pregnant; choked and assaulted her when she refused him sex; said he’d watch her “bleed to death” as she lay giving birth and smashed up her apartment and stole everything, even biscuits.

The mum-of-one tells how she pleaded with doctors to preserve her eggs after she was first diagnosed with cancer in both breasts, her hip, her spine and her liver.

She was then given the all-clear and recalls: “I remember thinking I will get married now, cos I’ve always wanted to get married. I always wanted my own little family, because I’m all about family.”

Nicola tells of meeting Moody on a dating app and thinking “straight away we hit it off, there was just that click”.

But just weeks into the relationship she began to feel smothered. The court heard Moody sent her around 30,000 texts, including 652 messages in one 14-hour period amounting to one message every 90 seconds.

Nicola revealed: “My phone never stopped calling. If I went to work my phone never stopped calling, if I went to visit my sister he was practically on the phone the whole time I was visiting my sister.”

Nicola had already tried to leave Moody when she discovered she was pregnant – and then her cancer came back.

When she told Moody he texted: “Honestly, you’re better off getting cancer again, cause sweetheart!! What we have started I’m gona f***in’ finish.”

hairdresser terrorised by garda partner as she battled stage 4 cancer opens up about ordeal

26/7/22 – Paul Moody arriving at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court for his sentence hearing

When Nicola found out her cancer had returned she reconciled with Moody, who she said was supportive for the first few weeks. But he showed his evil side again on a day at the beach when Nicola was eight months pregnant.

She recalled: “We got into a discussion that we both didn’t agree on, I’d already told Paul as I was lying there that I wasn’t feeling great, because I was taking medication.

“Paul would have known that a lot of the time it would affect my legs and the ability to walk. After we had the argument Paul got up and walked away and left me on the beach.

“I couldn’t walk, I waited and waited on the beach thinking that he might come back. But he wasn’t. I could see him in the distance sitting on the bonnet of my car watching me crawling, how could somebody be so cruel?”

Despite the red flags and warnings from her family not to bring him to the birth, Nicola asked Moody if he wanted to go to the hospital with her.

He became so abusive she had to ask the midwife to stay close to her because she didn’t feel safe, and he was eventually removed by security after a heated row.

Fighting back tears Nicola revealed: “I was heartbroken, I was absolutely devastated cos this moment I dreamt of was nothing like that. The worst thing he said to me that day was ‘sure I only came here today to watch you bleed to death’.”

When Nicola got out of hospital with her new-born son she discovered Moody had stripped the entire apartment, including the nursery.

She said: “He took everything… he even took biscuits I’d bought for people coming to visit me.” Nicola hit a new low after travelling to Bangkok for treatment when Moody would not let her FaceTime her baby son.

She said: “I remember walking over to this glass door and remember thinking I’m going to throw myself off the balcony, but the door didn’t open.”

hairdresser terrorised by garda partner as she battled stage 4 cancer opens up about ordeal

26/7/22 – Paul Moody arriving at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court for his sentence hearing

Moody agreed she could see the baby, but only if he travelled to Bangkok with their son. She said he assaulted her when she rejected his sexual advances.

She described: “He threw two litres of water over me. He was ripping up all my clothes, he was choking me, he was spitting at me and I couldn’t get out of the bedroom.

“After at least an hour of being attacked I ran out in my nightdress, soaked, I ran upstairs to the manager of the building and said you have to get him out. I was terrified, I picked up everything, got a taxi to airport and got a flight home.”

Moody was the architect of his own downfall, exposing himself as a monster after he made a complaint to gardai about one of Nicola’s family.

They asked for his phone and once he’d handed it over officers discovered the litany of abuse he’d subjected Nicola to over the previous year.

Moody, who joined An Garda Siochana in 2000 but was suspended from duty in 2021, pleaded guilty to coercive control and was jailed for three years and three months.

The messages he sent Nicola were described in court as “vile”.

In one he said she was “riddled with cancer”, in another he called her a “dirtbox” and said he hoped she would “get raped and bleed”.

Delivering her victim impact statement at his sentence hearing, Nicola said: “I know that I can and have survived Paul, even with cancer, so I want others to know they can too.”

She tells in the documentary how she went to court to successfully have Moody’s guardianship of their son removed. Urging others not to ignore red flags in a relationship, she said: “If somebody even looks angry at you when they’re speaking to you as if they’d want to hurt you it’s not healthy.

“The one thing about going through so much, I don’t take life for granted. I feel very lucky to be alive and to get to live a beautiful life with my son for as long as I can.”

Taking Back Control will air on Monday, December 11 at 9.35pm on RTE One and RTE Player.

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