Top cops zero in on fugitive

Malcolm John Naden.
Malcolm John Naden. Contributed

POLICE top brass will this afternoon reveal more details about their hunt for outlaw Malcolm Naden in the Nowendoc area, east of Tamworth.

As the frantic search for one of the state's most-wanted men continues, Acting Deputy Commissioner David Hudson will brief the media in Sydney shortly.

Malcolm Naden, 38, is wanted on warrants for the murder of a 24-year-old woman in Dubbo in June 2005 and an aggravated indecent assault against a 15-year-old girl. It is also hoped he can help police with their inquiries into the disappearance of a 24-year-old woman at Dubbo in January 2005.

Detectives from the Homicide Squad have been investigating the whereabouts of Naden under Strike Force Durkin and their inquiries led them to dense bushland near Nowendoc.

On Wednesday, specialist officers began moving in on a campsite before a shot was fired toward police, striking an officer in the shoulder.

The injured officer received treatment at Newcastle's John Hunter Hospital and has since been released.

Police were unable to identify the shooter but believe they were close to locating Naden.

At the campsite they located food and bedding.

The extensive search operation continued in bushland throughout yesterday and overnight, and officers are again combing the area today. They are being hampered by rain, fog and rugged terrain.

Police are now urging rural residents in the Nowendoc area to remain vigilant by ensuring their homes are secure and reporting any suspicious activity to Triple Zero (000). Police believe Naden is armed and ask people not to approach him under any circumstances.

Naden is described as 177cm tall with a medium build, brown eyes and possibly a moustache and/or beard.

A $100,000 reward is still on offer for information leading to the capture of Malcolm Naden. Anyone who can help police with information should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.



AN increased police manhunt is underway this morning to catch NSW's most wanted man, Malcolm Naden after a police officer was shot during an operation to capture him in rugged country.

A 33-year-old officer attached to the State Protection Group was wounded in the right shoulder on Wednesday about 7am in dense bushland near Nowendoc, east of Tamworth.

Police said a single shot rang out as officers closed in on a campsite, believed to be Naden's.

The officer was hit and the gunman was unseen before he disappeared.

The injured officer was airlifted to John Hunter Hospital where he was treated and later released.

"He was in very good spirits and understood he was very, very fortunate," NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said.

Mr Scipione urged people in the area to remain vigilant but to put their safety first.

"Do not approach him, he is armed and he is dangerous," he said.

The police operation is ongoing in rugged terrain and the NSW Police Force continues to dedicate significant resources and officers to the search for the fugitive.

It is rumored the Army may be called in to assist police in their search.

Malcolm Naden, 38, is wanted by police for murder and aggravated idecent assault and is known to have links to the Mid North Coast.

In recent years the experienced bushman has been known to have camped out in bushland around Bellbrook and on the Coffs Coast.

Naden carries a $100,000 bounty on his head - the largest criminal reward offered in Australia since Ned Kelly.

He has been on the run since June 2005, when police found the strangled body of his cousin, Kristy Scholes, in his grandparents' home in Dubbo.

Police believe Naden was also responsible for 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.

After several break-ins and reported sightings in remote communities on the Mid North Coast it's long been feared that Naden has traversed the Great Dividing Range living rough while breaking into farm houses to steal firearms, food and camping equipment.

He is believed to have hidden out in Bowraville, Bellbrook and on the Barrington Tops in recent times.

Topics:  bounty malcolm naden manhunt police

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