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Australian who spent 7 years in bush after two killings gets life term

June 15, 2013 at 1:44 AM   |   Comments

SYDNEY, June 15 (UPI) -- An Australian man who spent seven years living in the bush after killing two young women was sentenced Friday to life in prison.

Malcolm Naden, 39, appeared in court in Sydney, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. He was arrested last year after one of the biggest manhunts in Australian history.

Over the past two months, psychiatrists have testified in three days of hearings on Naden's mental condition and whether severe depression contributed to his crimes.

Naden admitted killing his cousin, Lateesha Nolan, 24, in January 2005 when she questioned him about a sexual assault on a 12-year-old girl. Her body has never been found.

His second victim, Kristy Scholes, 24, lived next door to Naden in Dubbo with another cousin. She had temporarily moved in Naden while her house was being painted and Naden strangled her as her children slept and then raped the corpse.

Naden then spent seven years hiding in the upper reaches of the Hunter Valley, breaking into cabins to steal food and other items. He came close to arrest several times, including one occasion when he forced his way into the Dubbo Zoo and another when he shot and wounded a police constable.

A police dog became a hero in March 2012 when he latched on to Naden's leg, holding him until police arrested him.

"Thank God it's over -- I've had enough," Naden was said to have told police before giving investigators statements admitting his crimes.

Nolan's father, Mick Peet, gave a victim impact statement Friday, describing the years when he was unsure what had happened to his daughter.

"To Malcolm I ask the question I don't ever think will be answered -- why?" Peet said.

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