Seven-year manhunt for 'Australia's most wanted' fugitive Malcolm Naden ends

 

Sydney

After seven years on the run, Australia's most wanted man was finally behind bars today following a police raid prompted by a tip-off.

Malcolm Naden, whose survival skills and ability to outwit police evoked comparisons with 19th century bushranger Ned Kelly, went on the run in 2005, shortly after his 24-year-old cousin, Kristy Scholes, was found strangled.

For nearly seven years Malcolm Naden evaded police, hiding out in the steep, thickly-forested bush of northern New South Wales, living off the land and stealing food and weapons from rural properties.

Dishevelled, muddy and sporting a bushy beard, the 38 year-old appeared in court today barefoot and shackled, to be charged with Ms Scholes's death, as well as the aggravated indecent assault of a 15-year-old girl.

Last seen just before Christmas, when he shot an officer as police closed in on his remote bush camp, Mr Naden was tracked to a house in Gloucester, 160 miles north of Sydney, early today. He tried to escape through a back door, but was bitten by a police dog and captured.

The former sheep shearer and abattoir worker had led police on a frustrating hunt, criss-crossing the remote and rugged Tablelands region, living off wild fruit and nuts and shooting wombats and wallabies. He also raided homes to steal supplies, and sheltered in farm buildings.

Police had deployed helicopters, dog squads, snipers and sophisticated tracking and thermal detection equipment, but in the end an old-fashioned tip-off - they have not said from whom - led them to Mr Naden.

Rebutting criticism of the time it took to catch Mr Naden, NSW police commissioner, Andrew Scipione, called him a "master bushman" who knew the area "better than the back of his hand".

Numerous sightings of Mr Naden were reported over the years, with one woman claiming to have woken up to find him in her bedroom dressed in camouflage gear. Fingerprints linked him to a series of burglaries.

According to anecdotes, he sometimes returned to replace stolen goods and washed up after helping himself to food.

A Gloucester businessman, Graham Holstein, said: "Most of the people in outlying areas will be very happy to hear the news. He was a dangerous guy that needed to be caught."

Police had posted a reward of $250,000 (£164,000) for information leading to his capture, the first such bounty offered since Ned Kelly and his gang went on the run in rural Victoria in 1878.

While Kelly was regarded as a hero and Robin Hood figure by many ordinary Australians, Mr Naden - also suspected of involvement in the disappearance of another of his cousins, Lateesha Nolan - has a far less romantic image.

According to local media reports, he spent his days locked in his bedroom in Dubbo, western New South Wales, reading the Bible, crime novels and survival manuals, before becoming a fugitive. He reportedly became obsessed with religion and was convinced that Armageddon was nigh.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing