‘Most wanted man’ hid out in zoo decapitated tortoise and stole elephant food

It has now a decade since Malcolm Naden was finally caged for murdering two of his relatives – after spending seven years on the run from 2005 until 2012.

The resourceful killer spent months hiding in a public zoo where he stole bananas from elephants, butchered a kangaroo and decapitated a giant tortoise.

He later broke into one home where he spent hours watching porn on a computer – taunting cops who arrived too late.

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The terrifying manhunt made him Australia’s most wanted man and a $250,000 was offered for any information leading to his capture.

But the warped loner finally faced justice in 2013 when he was jailed for a number of offences, the most serious being two murders.

Below, we take a look back at one of the most extraordinary fugitive stories in living memory.

Naden grew up in Dubbo in New South Wales, Australia, some five hours from Sydney.

He was described as a loner who had minimal contact with peers and as a teenager he moved in with his grandparents after falling out with his dad.

There, he became even more of a recluse and meals would be left outside his bedroom door.

Eventually the former abattoir went on to murder his cousin Lateesha Nolan before he killed his cousin’s girlfriend Kristy Scholes six months later.

He dismembered Lateesha near a river before raping and killing Kristy inside his grandparents home in 2005.

At the time it was not known whether Lateesha had been killed because her body was not found until after Naden confessed years later.

The creep had left letters for his victims before their deaths with messages like “I am watching you but you can’t see me” and “I want to have sex with you, you don’t don’t need to go anywhere to get love, it’s right here for you”.

He left Kristy’s remains in his bedroom but he had already fled by the time she was found, making him the prime suspect for the murder and he was also wanted in connection to Lateesha’s disappearance.

But incredibly, it would be seven years before he was finally found.

So, how did Naden manage to hide from the authorities for all that time?

His first pitstop was Western Plains Zoo, where he nicked food from the animals who were visited by families every day.

He brazenly slept in the roof of a staff member’s hut and he also decapitated a Galapagos tortoise to gorge on its inside.

And a book called The Contractor also documented how he cooked dinner on coin-fed barbecues and rummaged through rubbish bins for scraps of food.

Remarkably, Naden, who was 32 at the time and armed with a shotgun, managed to stay in the New South Wales zoo undetected for months

Eventually cops descended on the zoo and put it into lockdown after sightings of Naden were reported.

A vet reportedly saw him running from an enclosure where a headless tortoise was found with its guts sucked out.

But it would be three long years before the monster reared his head again after leaving blood an DNA on a window pain after a burglary.

It became an embarrassing situation for police and T-shirts with slogans like “Malcolm's in my bush” being flogged online.

Naden spent years surviving in bushland and breaking into buildings, where he would gather supplies and stay for as long as he deemed safe.

The hunt took another sinister turn in 2011 when he shot a police officer in the shoulder on the Northern Tablehands.

Then, in March 2012, he was finally caught in a cabin at Rawdon Vale and speaking to the arresting officers, he boasted: "I've been on the run for seven years, thank god it's over."

He eventually wrote a written confession about murdering two women and assaulting a 12-year-old girl.

Naden also chillingly wrote: "I have no doubt I'd kill again. I am sure of it. There was no reason for my actions. It really was a senseless, uncaring and regrettable waste of life for both Kristy and Lateesha."

As for surviving in the wild, he also wrote: "I even tried worms (God they were awful, tasted like s***) I felt sick."

He was caged for life ten years ago without the possibility of parole and he has since been attacked in jail after encountering one of his victim's relatives.

Naden, who is now 49, remains behind bars.

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