Saturday, September 11, 2010
Suspected killer who hides in the bush like a ghost * Janet Fife-Yeomans and Neil Keene * From: The Daily Telegraph * September 11, 2010
Suspected killer who hides in the bush like a ghost
* Janet Fife-Yeomans and Neil Keene
* From: The Daily Telegraph
* September 11, 2010 12:00AM
* 2 comments
IN the dense bush among the ravines and cliffs of Barrington Tops, Malcolm Naden - the state's most wanted man - is believed to be armed and living like a fox on the run.
The only fugitive since Ned Kelly to have a bounty on his head, the suspected double killer is moving by night, lying low by day.
Locals who have been the target of a series of mysterious break-ins believe Naden may be responsible.
A shotgun, two rifles, camping gear, gravy sachets and Weet-Bix are among the haul stolen from remote homesteads and weekender cabins. Police have warned at least one couple who were the victim of a burglary to stay away from their weekend retreat.
One property owner said he had started locking his doors for the first time in his 67 years.
Naden, 36, has been on the run since June 2005 when police found the strangled body of his cousin, Kristy Scholes, in his bedroom at his grandparents' Dubbo home.
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* Cult thief Barefoot Bandit strikes again The Australian, 8 Jul 2010
* Thousands on the run in NSW Daily Telegraph, 21 Jun 2010
End of sidebar. Return to start of sidebar.
He had lived there since Year 7 after falling out with his parents. It was also home to Kristy and her two children.
Police believe Naden is also involved in the disappearance of another cousin, Lateesha Nolan, 24, last seen after dropping her four children at her grandmother's house in Dubbo in January 2005.
Two families devastated, six children left without mothers.
In 2007, the Government offered $50,000 for information leading to Naden's capture.
A loner, Naden is a former shearer who worked as a skinner and boner at Dubbo abattoir. He became obsessed with religion, believing the end of the world was near and only left his home in secret.
Naden first surfaced in late December 2005, spotted at Dubbo's Western Plains Zoo.
With the 300ha zoo in lockdown, police believed he may have been living in a roof, slaughtering kangaroos for food. Carcasses were found, carefully butchered.
His bushman's skills kept him under the police radar despite having Homicide Squad detectives on his tail.
In 2007 he left his fingerprint in a break and enter on a home at Stewarts Brook in the Barrington Tops area.
But Naden slipped the police net and did not surface again for two years, this time at the hamlet of Bellbrook, inland from Kempsey.
Locals who had no idea he was a wanted man, had stood next to him in the local hotel. Then, wearing a mask and camouflage gear, he terrified a woman when he broke into her house. Again, he was identified by his fingerprints, sparking a huge manhunt. Again he eluded police. Early this year, a couple with a weekender in Barrington Tops reported a break-in and a shotgun stolen.
The latest of a series of burglaries since then came earlier this month when a rifle was stolen. While he is believed to be using the guns only to hunt, police have warned people not to approach Naden.
Lateesha's father Mick Peet, 49, wants Naden's details spread far and wide.
"Barrington Tops is a very large area but the police are on to him and with the tourist season coming up, that might flush him out," he said.
But for a community sharing their backyard with a notorious fugitive, some Barrington locals are surprisingly relaxed.
They even appear to have a grudging respect.
Allen Shultz has lived in the area for more than 50 years and said it was unlikely Naden would be found.
"Nobody has ever seen him, he goes into these places and only takes food and supplies for survival and he's hardly leaving a trace," he said.
Police warn that Naden is no romantic hero but Paula Muddle, in the Barrington township's general store, said his legend was growing.
The area is the same unforgiving country where outlaw Frederick Ward, aka Captain Thunderbolt, took refuge from authorities more than 140 years ago.