MALCOLM Naden, once the state’s most wanted fugitive, will stand trial on two murder charges next year, almost eight years after he allegedly killed his cousin and the partner of another cousin.
The former abattoir worker, who was on the run from police for seven years until his dramatic capture in remote bushland south-east of Tamworth this year, waived his right to a committal hearing in Central Local Court yesterday morning and will stand trial in February for the alleged strangulation of Kristy Scholes and the murder of his cousin, Lateesha Nolan, who disappeared in 2005.
Naden appeared in court via audio-visual link from Long Bay jail wearing an orange prison uniform and with a freshly shaved head and short beard.
When Magistrate Julie Huber asked if he could hear the proceedings, he replied: “Yes, fine thank you.”
She granted the application by his legal representative, Richard Wilson, to waive the right to a committal hearing on several charges.
Naden is charged with strangling Ms Scholes in a bedroom of his grandparents’ home in Dubbo in June 2005, and the suspected murder of Ms Nolan, who has not been found since she was reported missing from Dubbo in January 2005.
He is also charged with the attempted murder of a police officer who tried to capture him from a bush camp near Nowendoc.
After the two alleged murders, he left Dubbo and evaded capture by constantly moving around remote and rugged parts of the range country between Nowendoc, Kempsey, Niangla and Gloucester using his skills as a bushman to live off the land.
He had a $250,000 bounty on his head and drew comparisons to the outlaw Ned Kelly and bushranger Captain Thunderbolt, who evaded police by hiding in many of the same areas of NSW.
In court yesterday, Mr Wilson also indicated his client wished to go straight to trial next month on several break and enter, stealing and assault charges – all related to his time on the run.