Police find Malcolm Naden fingerprint at campsite in Nowendoc as they fear $250K reward will tempt bounty hunters
- The Daily Telegraph
- December 12, 2011
- A FINGERPRINT has confirmed fugitive Malcolm Naden used a campsite uncovered by police at Nowendoc in northern NSW. Forensic experts have had to wait to carry out tests at the site after a police officer was shot when detectives closed in on the bush retreat on Wednesday.
``We couldn't get (them in) because it was dangerous,'' said Assistant Commissioner Carlene York, who is in charge of the operation.
Tests were finally carried out at the site on Sunday.
``I can confirm today that he has been at that crime scene. We have found a fingerprint which we have identified,'' Ms York told Macquarie Radio on Monday.
``So we know that was one of his campsites.''
Extra police on Sunday joined the search for 38-year-old Naden, one of the state's most wanted fugitives, who has been on the run since June 2005.
He disappeared from his grandparents' home in west Dubbo, days before 24-year-old mother-of-two Kristy Scholes was found strangled in his bedroom.
He is also suspected to have been involved in the disappearance of another of his cousins, Lateesha Nolan, a few months earlier, and the rape of a 15-year-old schoolgirl.
He has managed to evade police on six previous occasions.
``No, it wasn't botched,'' Ms York said when asked about Naden giving police the slip after the officer was wounded at Nowendoc.
``He had on that occasion a little bit of the upper hand because he had seen the police coming, which was very dangerous for our officers.''
Ms York said she hoped someone wasn't harbouring him because he was ``armed and dangerous''.
``He is very good - he has been living in the bush and got his wiles about him,'' she said.
``He certainly is able to move through that area with those skills he has learnt over that period of time.''
Ms York said police were pushing on with the search despite the bad weather, which has forced them to ground their surveillance aircraft.
NSW Police Minister Mike Gallacher described the weather as ``a shocker''.
``Fortunately for him the weather has been playing to his advantage but that's only right now,'' he said.
``The police aren't going to give up on this guy.''Extra police were poured into the search effort on Sunday for Naden, who allegedly shot a 33-year-old officer after police had been attempting to corner him at a remote campsite near Nowendoc in northern NSW on Wednesday morning.
``We still have people there so the search is continuing,'' a police spokesman told AAP on Monday.
``The climate conditions that they are operating under is obviously a concern ... (but) obviously they will do what they need to do.''
The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting possible thunderstorms and winds of up to 30km/h for the area. Naden, 38, disappeared in June 2005 from his grandparents' home in west Dubbo, days before 24-year-old mother-of-two Kristy Scholes was found strangled in his bedroom.
He has evaded police on six previous occasions.
NSW Police Minister Mike Gallacher said police were facing a tough battle against the weather.
``They are doing the best that they can given the conditions,'' he told Macquarie Radio.
``We've all been monitoring what has been happening with the weather around Nowendoc and it has been a shocker ...
``Fortunately for him the weather has been playing to his advantage but that's only right now. The police aren't going to give up on this guy.''
The state government last week increased the reward for fugitive Naden's capture from $100,000 to $250,000 - the nation's highest reward - but police were fearful it could spark a free-for-all of people trying to cash in.
A senior source close to the investigation said there was a "very real" concern when the reward was raised that it would provide an incentive for people to take the law into their own hands.
"The reward was pretty much increased to try to stave off people assisting this man, not to encourage would-be bounty hunters," the source said. "This man is extremely dangerous and what we are doing out there is very tactical, very strategic."
More teams of police joined the hunt and officers vowed to stay for as long as it takes to find their man.
Naden, 38, on the run since 2005, is wanted over the death of two women in Dubbo, the sexual assault of a schoolgirl and, following a failed attempt to catch him last Wednesday, the shooting of a police officer.
NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said police would continue the manhunt "until this fugitive is located".