Malcolm Naden was Australia’s most wanted man. Now the officers who captured him have been acknowledged. – Southern Cross

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January 31, 2017

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Malcolm Naden was Australia’s most wanted man. Now the officers who captured him have been acknowledged.

Malcolm Naden was wanted for the brutal murder of two woman in Western NSW and remained a fugitive for more than seven years.

In 2011, police searching the Nowendoc area were fired upon by Naden with one officer receiving a gunshot wound to the shoulder.

The NSW Police who previously had very few leads on the whereabouts of Naden quickly established a Strike Force in the Gloucester area to arrest Australia’s most wanted man. 

Officers from the Manning Great Lakes and Mid North Coast Police Commands spearheaded Strike Force Durkin. More than 400 staff were deployed over the four month operation with resources from all over the state were involved.

Malcolm Naden. Photo: Carl Muxlow.

Malcolm Naden. Photo: Carl Muxlow.

Officers who played a crucial part in the operation have recently been recognised by the NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione.

The local officers attended an awards ceremony at the Art Gallery of NSW and were presented a range of awards from the police commissioner. 

Superintendent Peter Thurtell, Detective Chief Inspector Peter McKenna, Detective Sergeant John Williamson, Sergeant John Broadley and Leading Senior Constable Tim Cusack received a commissioner’s commendation.

Fellow officers received the commissioner’s unit citation and commissioner’s certificate of merit. These included Senior Constable Kurt Wiseman, Detective Senior Constable Jamell Wilson, Detective Senior Constables Paul Kelly, Renae Kelly, Alexandra Reid, Sharon Vandermey, Superintendent Peter Thurtell, Chief Inspector John Sullivan and Detective Chief Inspector Peter McKenna.

“These are among the highest form of recognition you can receive in policing,” Superintendent Thurtell said. 

Kurt Wiseman, Jamell Wilson, Paul Kelly, Renae Kelly, Alexandra Reid, Sharon Vandermey, Peter Thurtell, John Sullivan and Peter McKenna.

Kurt Wiseman, Jamell Wilson, Paul Kelly, Renae Kelly, Alexandra Reid, Sharon Vandermey, Peter Thurtell, John Sullivan and Peter McKenna.

Superintendent Thurtell recalls the enormous amount of resources drawn from across Australia to support the operation. 

“It was the largest single investigation conducted in Australia in terms of resources.” 

The superintendent explained the task was rigorous, “for sworn and unsworn officers.” 

In the field, there was rugged terrain to cover across the Barrington.

“They were either long, hot days or freezing nights,” he said. 

Honoured: Tim Cusack, John Broadley, Peter McKenna, Peter Thurtell and John Williamson received commissioner’s commendations for the capture of Malcolm Naden.

Honoured: Tim Cusack, John Broadley, Peter McKenna, Peter Thurtell and John Williamson received commissioner’s commendations for the capture of Malcolm Naden.

“There was enormous area to cover that Naden knew well. He was a needle in a haystack. We had to put in place strategies that encouraged him to make a mistake.”

Mr Thurtell said administration staff had to deal with the juggle of supporting an enormous increase in staff. 

Naden was captured in March 2012 and his court appearance in Taree required extra security.

“It was a massive operation,” Mr Thurtell said.

Malcolm Naden has now been sentenced to life in prison for his crimes. 

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