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EXCLUSIVE: Stealing bananas from elephants, raiding rubbish bins and even gutting a GIANT TORTOISE to eat: How Australia's most wanted murderer survived for months in a ZOO while evading police

19:10, Tuesday, 25 July, 2017
EXCLUSIVE: Stealing bananas from elephants, raiding rubbish bins and even gutting a GIANT TORTOISE to eat: How Australia's most wanted murderer survived for months in a ZOO while evading police

He stole bananas from elephants, slept in the roof cavity of a manager's hut and used coin-fed barbecues to cook himself meals.

When his food supply was cut off he tore the head off a Galapagos tortoise and ate its insides.
     The real story of fugitive double killer Malcolm Naden's months hiding out in a zoo in central western New South Wales can be told for the first time with the publication of a new book.
     Naden, who was one of Australia's most wanted men while on the run from June 2005 to March 2012, was spotted several times camping out at Dubbo's Western Plains Zoo.

But just how the former abattoir worker survived among the zoo's 1,000-odd animals during those weeks in late 2005 has remained largely unknown.
     Now a security expert who came close to catching the fugitive has described hunting Naden through the zoo's 300 hectares armed with a pump-action shotgun, and confronting him face-to-face.
     Daily Mail Australia can reveal how Naden was found hiding in the zoo, recounted for the first time in an exclusive extract from The Contractor, 'six true tales of counter terrorism', to be published on Tuesday. The contractor of the title is 'Mike', a Melbourne builder who once worked for foreign and domestic intelligence organisations and now does occasional private security contracting jobs.
     One of those freelance jobs, described in The Contractor, was to investigate a 'homeless person' believed to be living in the Western Plains Zoo in November 2005.
     The job came through the logistics and security person at another zoo who is called Roger in the book. Roger told Mike there had been a series of 'strange incidents' at the zoo over the previous month.

An intruder had been stealing feed, particularly bananas, from the elephant house. Uneaten and out-of-date food, including chicken rolls, was being taken from a dumpster behind the zoo's restaurant.
     Coin-fed barbecues on the grounds were found still hot at 5am. Whoever was doing the stealing, cooking and camping seemed to be familiar with staff rosters too.
     Feed bags from the elephant house were found behind the rhino enclosure, forming a bed. Chocolate milk containers and pie wrappers were found around the bedding.
     Most alarmingly, Roger believed the intruder had been in his house, which was also on zoo grounds. Milk disappeared from a jug. Bread and Vegemite went missing.
     Roger told Mike he had heard what sounded like a possum in the roof.
     Mike learnt from Roger's cleaner Carole she had recently encountered a man in Roger's bedroom. He had just got out of the shower and asked her for a towel.

The man told Carole: 'Oh I'm David, Roger's mate from Sydney - I'm staying with him for a few days.'
     Roger had not seen David for almost a year. But he had been talking to him on the phone in his house.
     The next morning Carole described 'David' to Mike. 'Medium height, quite muscly,' she said. 'Oh, and he's a black-fella - but I guess you know that?'
     Armed with Carole's description of the brazen intruder and after making inquiries with Sydney police, Mike soon believed he was hunting Malcolm Naden.
     Naden, a 32-year-old loner, was wanted over the June 2005 murder of his cousin's girlfriend Kristy Scholes and the disappearance six months earlier of his cousin Lateesha Nolan.
     He was also wanted over the aggravated indecent assault of a 15-year-old girl. All the crimes had been committed in and around Dubbo, Naden's home town.
     Mike began camping in the zoo grounds, armed with a Remington 870 pump-action shotgun and dressed in a camouflage ghillie suit.
     From his observations it appeared the intruder had been splitting the sites where he cooked, ate and slept so if one were found it would not blow his whole cover.
     Mike patrolled perimeter fences, followed footpads and left a can of Coke near a culvert he believed Naden was using as an access route. The next morning the can was opened and half full.
     Ten days into the hunt staff found bacon and sausage cooking on a barbecue hotplate about 5am, along with a toasting bread bun. Next to the barbecue was a half-drunk can of Coke.
     That afternoon, Mike and Roger were confronted at Dubbo's Commercial Hotel by a group of Aboriginal men who accused them of harassing their relative 'Mal'.
     Mike is a 190cm tall (6' 3") 125kg (275 pound) former rugby league front-rower and bouncer who can handle himself. The threat did not last long.
     The following exclusive extract from The Contractor picks up the story the next day.

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