Saturday, August 28, 2010

Is Barrington Tops hiding state's most wanted man?

Is Barrington Tops hiding state's most wanted man?
28 Aug, 2010 12:00 AM
THE State's most wanted man, suspected double murderer Malcolm Naden, is believed to be armed and terrorising isolated communities near the Barrington Tops.

The ex-abattoir worker and experienced bushman, left, is suspected to be living in dense bush near Curricabark, north-west of Gloucester, following reports of thefts from properties adjoining the Woko National Park since mid-July.

Naden, who has been on the run for five years, became the first fugitive to have an arrest bounty set on his head since the days of the 19th century bushrangers when then police minister John Watkins announced a $50,000 reward in 2007.

He is suspected of being involved in the disappearance of cousin Lateesha Nolan and the murder of Kristy Scholes, the partner of another cousin who was found dead in Naden's room in Dubbo in 2005.

The series of break-ins since about July 11 have residents on edge, especially after long-time resident Bob Stegg reported his .22 calibre rifle stolen last month.

Mr Stegg, who had not reported a theft for 10 years, has discovered things missing on at least three occasions, while neighbour Tony Snow has also had his place burgled.

Mr Snow said yesterday police had told him they strongly suspected Naden was responsible. Mr Snow's children would not venture more than 50 metres from their weekender.

Senior police refused to comment yesterday, but the Newcastle Herald has been told that officers have come up empty-handed following at least one search near Tomala.

The lack of any large-scale hunt has been criticised by frightened property owners.

In January last year, Naden surfaced in a small town west of Wauchope, where there was a series of break-ins similar to the latest burglaries. Police identified him from fingerprints as the suspect in those raids.

A statement from State Crime Command said the homicide squad was aware of a recent break-in but had not been able to tie it to Naden.

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