Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The last snapshot of man wanted over strangulation murder


January 3, 2006
Malcolm Naden's aunty talks about the man on the run, writes Jordan Baker.
THIS is Malcolm John Naden as his family remembers him.
For reasons known only to the man on the run from murder allegations, Naden posed for the photograph after gathering and destroying every picture he could find of himself.
It captures Naden, dishcloth in hand, as he looked when he disappeared a day before the strangled body of his cousin's partner Kristy Scholes was found next to his single bed in August.
Until now police have relied on a picture of a fuller-faced man with closely cropped hair to jog the memories of members of the public who may have seen Naden on the run.
The photograph is taken in the Dubbo home of his grandparents, who took him in when he fled his home after repeated clashes with his father.
Janette Lancaster, his aunty, said she "grabbed him on a good day".
By the time the photo was taken he was virtually a hermit, shutting himself in his sparsely furnished room, bolting the door from the inside and occasionally climbing through the window at night.
"You never knew whether he was there or not," Mrs Lancaster said. "He sometimes had blankets over the windows. He even used to put his clothes under the door so no one could see the light.
"The boys would give him food through the window. Dad would leave fruit on his door in a plastic bag.
"Before what happened with Kristy, he wouldn't take the food; it was just going rotten."
Naden disappeared more than four months ago. Police believe he is living rough using the survival skills he learned while camping and fishing, with perhaps some help from contacts.
He has been spotted across western NSW - at Moree, Coonabarabran and Coonamble.
The only two confirmed sightings have been at Grawin, near Lightning Ridge, and at Western Plains Zoo, where the former skinner and boner from Dubbo abattoir lived for up to two weeks.
Grawin's opal fields suit wanted men: empty camps, deserted mines the size of ballrooms, and furtive "noodlers" who scavenge through dumps for riches the miners missed.
"You could go months and months without seeing anybody out here if you chose the right spot," said Cheryl Bailey, the manager of a local club.
Police operations in both places failed to find him.
Relatives are begging Naden to turn himself in, and his grandparents cannot bring themselves to return to the house they have lived in for 30 years.
Mrs Lancaster said: "There's some that don't want to believe it, but there's others who say why would she be found in his room with the door locked? Nobody went into his room. His father doesn't want to believe it at all.
"You don't want to think someone you trusted and loved and helped raise can murder someone. It's so unbelievable it's not funny. Until we find him and he gives us his story we don't know what happened."
Police also want to question Naden over his cousin Lateesha Nolan, missing since last January. A vigil will be held for her tomorrow, the anniversary of her disappearance.

1 comment:

mick said...

Murder in 'Redfern of the bush'

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Caroline Overington | January 07, 2006

FOUR-YEAR-OLD Elizabeth pushed the flyscreen out of her bedroom window, climbed up over the sill, and tumbled onto the ground.
On June 22 last year, after being trapped in the house for eight hours with her three-year-old brother, John, Elizabeth was finally free.

The little girl ran into the garden, where relatives later found her in tears. They called the police, who knocked down a locked door and found her 24-year-old mother, Kristy Scholes, lying dead on the floor near a bed. Suspicion immediately fell on Kristy's cousin, an Aboriginal man named Malcolm Naden, who has disappeared and is wanted by police.

The murder attracted little attention at the time, in part because it occurred on the Gordon Estate, in remote and dusty Dubbo, about 300km northwest of Sydney.

But Gordon Estate is back in the news this week, and is fast developing a reputation as the nation's most dysfunctional community - a so-called "Redfern of the bush".

The estate, 5km from Dubbo's small airport, is home to about 5000 people - 4000 of them Aborigines - in the city's total population of almost 40,000. Many of the families are related; almost everybody seems to be somebody else's cousin.

Like all of Dubbo, the estate is hot, flat, dry and dusty. Most of the homes are neat - some have garden gnomes out the front - but many have been destroyed by the residents.

About 60 homes have plywood hammered over the windows to prevent Aboriginal kids from getting in and setting them on fire. The streets are filled with Aboriginal children, many of them as young as three or four, walking through the estate, day and night.

Some residents have complained the youngsters are neglected and spend their days making mischief, stealing cars and breaking into homes.

Others make the point that few people on the estate can afford a car (or have lost their licence) so walking is the way the children can get around.

There are no shops on the estate, no school, no post office and no bank. The only building that isn't a house is a community centre, where poor children are given meals.

The Gordon Estate made the newspapers in January last year when Aboriginal elders decided to begin patrols in an effort to cut the crime rate.

This week it made the news again, after Aboriginal youths bashed a police officer and torched a police car on New Year's Eve.

The Weekend Australian visited the estate to talk to residents about why its problems keep making national news.

Some, like Kelly Smith, a 25-year-old Aboriginal mother of four, who was resting in the shade under the eaves of her house, could not understand it.

"I've been here three years and never had any trouble," she said, as her toddlers gambolled around.

True, stolen cars raced up and down the streets at night and were occasionally torched, she said. "But it's not Beirut, like I read in the newspaper."

But one of Smith's neighbours - a white man, who spoke to The Weekend Australian from behind a locked security door - said the estate once had "one Aboriginal family for every five white families. Now it's one white family to every 1000 Aborigines".

He wanted to move off the estate - "My friends at work always say, 'How do you sleep at night?"' - but the rent, at $90 a week for a three-bedroom house, is cheaper than anywhere else in Dubbo.

The man believed police were stirring up trouble in the estate over the New Year period for just one reason: "They think Naden is here."

Others said the same. "It's got nothing to do with kids this time. It's Naden they're after," said Charlie Nelson, who drives a community bus.

"They think his relatives are harbouring him. He's got heaps of relatives around the place, and they think they've been helping him."

Police are anxious to speak to Naden, an unemployed shearer, skinner and boner, and skilled bushman - not only about the killing of his cousin Kristy, but also about the disappearance of another cousin, Lateesha Nolan, a 24-year-old mother of four.

Nolan was last seen on January 4 last year, dropping off her children at the same house where Scholes's body was found. Naden has since disappeared, and his reputation as a wild man has grown since he fled. Some residents say his eyes are "just crazy" and that he could "snap a girl's neck with his fingers".

It is known Naden spent some time hiding with the animals at Dubbo's Western Plains Zoo, a few kilometres from the Gordon Estate. He reportedly lived on rotten meat and fruit left out for the bears, tigers and rhinos.

Sixty police, sniffer dogs and a helicopter were used to search the zoo last month after a staff member spotted Naden, but he was not found.

"They think he's come back to Gordon Estate," said Nelson. "That's why there's been trouble here."

But the problems at the estate extend well beyond the hunt for Naden.

"This place was built for good people - just good people on low incomes," one white local, who has lived there for 25 years, said through his closed curtains. "Now it's like a slum."

Some blame the Aborigines, most of whom are unemployed. The women have children very young, the children don't go to school for long, and there is drug abuse and alcoholism.

But Aborigines who are living upright lives feel the racism too. Nelson's son Robert, a self-described "blackfella", said: "I can't get a job here. Lot of rednecks here."

Charlie Nelson - who has six children and 25 grandchildren, many of them living on the estate, and all employed - tries to talk to the young Aborigines running wild on the streets around his neat home.

"You try to set them on a right path," he said. "We pick them up at night in the community bus and take them home." The problem is some families just don't care that their children are running wild. They are too drunk or drugged.

The suspected presence of a wild bushman, a murder, the disappearance of a mother and the riot on New Year's Eve brought the media to Dubbo.

The damaging publicity upsets the good folk of the town, and a brawl broke out between local politicians over whether the problems should be discussed in the "Sydney media".

MP Dawn Fardell was upset by an interview councillor Ben Shields gave on the Seven Network,, and called on him to resign for "damaging Dubbo's image".

In response, Shields told the local Daily Liberal newspaper: "To hell with her, I'm sick to death of her trying to push things under the rug."