Fugitive Malcolm Naden being led out of the Manning Base Hospital by NSW Police officers in Taree on the NSW mid-North Coast following his arrest at a farmhouse 30km west of Gloucester. Photo: News Limited.
Fugitive Malcolm Naden being led out of the Manning Base Hospital by NSW Police officers in Taree on the NSW mid-North Coast following his arrest at a farmhouse 30km west of Gloucester. Photo: News Limited.

How local officers helped nab Australia’s most wanted man

TWO local police officers have been commended for their courage in helping to take down one of Australia's most notorious former fugitives, Malcolm Naden.

Sgt Joseph Roach and Snr Const. Mark Baxter were part of the Tactical Operations Unit that tracked down and arrested the now-convicted murderer who had been on the run for more than six years after killing his cousin Lateesha Nolan and young mother Kristy Scholes at Dubbo.

 

No convicted murderer Malcolm Naden had been on the run for more than six years before his arrest.
No convicted murderer Malcolm Naden had been on the run for more than six years before his arrest.

 

In February 2011, the officers were involved in a siege at Pampoolah where Naden, who had been hiding out in bushland, was found armed with a variety of weapons including a knife, sword, axe and a bow and arrow.

Naden fired a number of arrows at police and hurled an axe, evading his arrest.

Naden was tracked down again in December the same year in what was another unsuccessful attempt of his arrest at Nowendoc, south of Walcha.

A police officer was shot during the operation.

He was successfully arrested at a remote holiday house west of Gloucester in March 2012, and has since been sentenced to life in prison over the murders.

 

Assistant Commissioner Max Mitchell with Sergeant Joseph Roach.
Assistant Commissioner Max Mitchell with Sergeant Joseph Roach.

 

Sgt Roach played a crucial role as part of the Strike Force Durkin investigation, which saw officers use a range of innovative technologies to track down Naden while working in extreme weather and terrain conditions.

These included tactics like hidden cameras in bushland.

Both Sgt Roach and Snr Const. Mark Baxter were commended for their bravery at the Coffs/Clarence Police District Awards held in Coffs Harbour today.

Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys APM, Assistant Commissioner Max Mitchell and Superintendent Steve Clarke thanked the two men for their service in "difficult circumstances".

 

Assistant Commissioner Max Mitchell with Sr Const. Mark Baxter.
Assistant Commissioner Max Mitchell with Sr Const. Mark Baxter.