A police officer has been shot during an operation to capture the state's most wanted man, Malcolm Naden east of Tamworth. In the past he has terrorised the town of Bellbrook. FRANK REDWARD.
A police officer has been shot during an operation to capture the state's most wanted man, Malcolm Naden east of Tamworth. In the past he has terrorised the town of Bellbrook. FRANK REDWARD.

Officer shot by fugitive

A POLICE  officer has been shot in the shoulder during a manhunt in rugged bushland to capture the state's most wanted men Malcolm Naden today.

The officer, attached to a specialist command, was part of a search operation for Malcolm Naden in bushland near Nowendoc, east of Tamworth.

Police said about 7am officers began moving in on a remote campsite when a shot was fired towards them.

A 33-year-old officer was struck in the shoulder and was taken to John Hunter Hospital and recently released after receiving treatment.

The identity of sniper who fired at police has not yet been confirmed, while no shots were fired by police.

The police operation to catch the fugitive 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 indecent 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.


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