PERSONAL TRAGEDY AT HOME
Shamed ex-Console boss Paul Kelly takes own life days after decision to charge him over €500k scam
- UP DATED BY FRED BASSETT 14TH DECEMBER 2022.
- Published: 7:10, 11 Feb 2020
- Updated: 13:46, 12 Feb 2020
SHAMED charity chief Paul Kelly has killed himself just days after the decision to charge him over a massive €500,000 scam — and so will “never face justice”.
We can reveal the 62-year-old former CEO of suicide helpline Console was found dead at his luxury pad in Alexander Manor, Clane, Co Kildare.
It’s understood that Kelly died on Sunday night and was then discovered by his wife Patricia.
He took his own life after the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement received the go-ahead earlier this month from the DPP to charge him with over ten breaches of company law and fraud during his time at the charity.
It’s not clear at the moment if Kelly — whose wife Patricia and son Tim were also suspected of using company credit cards to fund a lavish lifestyle — was aware he was to be charged with fraud offences at the time of his death.
If convicted, he could have faced a maximum ten year sentence.
While an ODCE investigation into Patricia Kelly is ongoing, neither she nor Tim Kelly have been charged with any crime.
Once exposed in 2016 as being part of a massive scandal in the Irish charity sector, he was accused of using Console’s cash for grieving families to pay for a Mercedes car, holidays around the world, including Australia, designer clothing and tickets to major sporting events.
And we can also reveal the fraudster — accused of swindling the cash from suicide helpline Console between 2012 and 2014 — died just a week after he failed in another suicide bid.
On that occasion, he was rushed to Our Lady’s Hospital in Navan, Co Meath, on February 3 after he was suspected of taking an overdose.
He was treated at the hospital before he’s understood to have signed himself out last week.
Although the Irish Sun also told how Kelly was arrested in January of last year by Garda investigators attached to the ODCE, he was later released without charge as the Garda probe continued.
A source said: “The DPP had decided that he was to be charged with multiple counts of fraud but he couldn’t be arrested because he was in hospital. He spent a week in hospital before signing himself out.
“Once he was out he made sure that he would never face justice.
“Kelly had a serious case to answer about his role at the charity he formed but he will never stand trial for what he did.”
Since our revelation last year of the couple’s arrest, Kelly and his wife have been keeping a low profile at their high-end home.
Although on social welfare, they continued to live in the €450,000 pad.
A local told the Irish Sun: “There has been little or no sign of them since the start of the year. When the scandal broke they went away and when they returned it was in the dead of night.
“The only activity at the house in recent times was in 2019 when the Gardai were at the house and left him back to the house after he was arrested.
“There was a lot of garda activity at the house yesterday morning and word soon started to filter out that he had died after taking his own life.
“Kelly was accused of very serious offences — but his family have now been left without a husband and a father.”
Campaigner David Hall, who was appointed as the interim CEO of the charity when the scandal broke in 2016, told how Kelly’s death had left many “unanswered questions”.
Mr Hall, whose primary role was to protect the services of the charity, added: “It’s always a personal tragedy when someone loses their life and it’s ironic he established a charity to help people contemplating taking their own lives.
“Mr Kelly was behind a badly-run charity where cash was misappropriated and I wonder why it took so long to bring any type of charges against him.
“I think if we had a breach of trust law relating to charities then he may have been before the courts long before now.
“The entire charitable sector was affected by this scandal because this was a charity that was providing a front-line service.
“Unfortunately his death has left a lot of many unanswered questions and he died without his activities being examined before a court of law. This case deserved some sort of conclusion.”
Kelly — who previously posed as a priest, doctor, pilot and social worker in the UK — had vowed to take his own life when he was arrested by gardai in July 2016 for his own safety.
On that occasion, his family raised concerns for his safety after he drove to Dun Laoghaire harbour.
The scammer — who established Console in honour of his sister who took her own life — travelled to the south Dublin seaside town and had threatened to drive into the harbour after his lavish lifestyle at the expense of the charity’s clients was exposed.
The investigation into Kelly’s time at the charity, which had 400 active clients, 12 full-time staff, 60 part-time staff and a 24-hour suicide helpline, was launched after the ODCE received a complaint about his financial dealings.
Those who were receiving counselling were later transferred to Pieta House.
Over the last three years, investigators have examined hundreds of documents and computer devices linked to his time running the charity.
Shortly after he was exposed as a schemer, he also hid over 400 files in an industrial unit.
At the time of his death, Kelly — who was also targeted by an organised crime gang in Co Kildare when his showjumping horse Ecapitola was stolen in August 2016 — was terrified of being charged.
The €40,000 brown mare, who was for his daughter Robyn, was taken from her stables by two men who were pretending to be from the Garda Criminal Assets Bureau. There have been no sightings of the horse since.
The gang also stole his Fiat 500 and it was later found burnt out.
Since the charity’s collapse in July 2016, Kelly was also forced to give up his €47,000 Mercedes CLS drive and was recently driving an old Toyota. His wife also gave up her €40,000 Audi Q5.
We previously approached him for a comment on his splurges but he refused to speak to us.
The disgraced Console founder was also ordered to hand back a 2014 People of the Year award when he was forced to resign as chief executive following the disclosure of financial irregularities.
When the scale of the spending of Kelly, his wife Patricia and son Tim was exposed, it emerged suspicions were first raised by a whistle-blower in 2008.
If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, please call the Samaritans on 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.