true crime

The name Malcolm Naden is infamous, but do you remember his victims?

Content Warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that the following article, contains images and names of people who have died. It also discusses descriptions of murder.

For seven years Australia hunted Malcolm Naden

Wanted for the murders of two young women in Dubbo, the local slaughter-house worker gained worldwide notoriety as he continually managed to evade police.

Between 2005 and his eventual capture in 2012, he was Australia's most wanted man, leading police on the longest manhunt in this country's history.

Audiences couldn't look away, inhaling stories about how he managed to live undetected in Dubbo Zoo for six months, sleeping in the roof and surviving on the food scraps thrown to animals.

Watch: Naden's capture. Post continues.

Video via ABC

Once police discovered his hideout he went bush, living rough in some of NSW's toughest terrain. Articles dissected his masterful bushman skills, comparing him to notorious bushranger Ned Kelly, and even terrorist Osama Bin Laden. 

There's no denying the lure of his story – a wanted man on the run, living like an animal in the rugged Australian wilderness.


But while Naden's face and story were splashed across our screens and newspapers, imprinting themselves in our psyche, two names barely garnered more than a mention: his victims.

Lateesha Nolan was Naden's cousin. The 24-year-old mother-of-four dropped her kids off at her grandparent's home, where Naden was also living, on January 4, 2005. He says she offered him a lift to a nearby fishing spot, but she angered him with her questions so he murdered her. After strangling her, he dismembered her body and buried it along the banks of The Macquarie River. 

Six months later he strangled his cousin's girlfriend, 25-year-old mother-of-two Kristy Scholes, in his grandparent's bathroom. He then raped her in his bedroom and left her body there arranged amongst his pillows to be found by police the next day. Her children were in the next room the entire time. 

The horrific way these young women's lives were stolen from them is hard to comprehend. We know what happened to them, because Naden admitted everything to police in a 25 page handwritten confession.

Lateesha Nolan (left), and Kristy Scholes (right). Image: Nine.


But we know more about how they died, than how they lived.

Little is written for public consumption about who these women were. We know that they had loving, devastated families. We know they were happy, devoted mums who were full of life and love. 

In 2017, after Nolan's remains were finally found, her children gave an insight into what their childhood was like without her, as they sought funds to give her a proper goodbye. They were aged between one and five when she died.

“For 12 years we searched for her and endured the most horrific sadness and loneliness a child should ever have to go through," they wrote in a GoFundMe as reported by The Daily Telegraph.

Listen: The forgotten victims of Malcolm Naden. 

“We have no mother to share our achievements, to cuddle us when we feel lonely and sad or just to be there for us.”

As A Current Affair journalist Dimity Clancy told Mamamia's True Crime Conversations this week, "What a story for you to have to grow up with of what happened to your mum, or what happened to your daughter. That's really at the heart of this story. This isn't a story about Malcolm Naden, he's just the offender."


Hearing from Nolan's children puts the context of history into perspective. 

While Nolan and Scholes's families rallied around trying to maintain some normalcy for their children in the face of great evil, Australians were more focused on the story continuing to unfurl in front of them. With every near-capture the focus leaned further away from Naden's crimes and more towards his incredible ability to consistently bamboozle police. It was exciting and thrilling news to follow, and audiences lapped it up.

Once caught, the focus was on the truly psychopathic descriptions of death and murder he penned in his confession, as Australians were given a rare insight into the mind of a killer. 

Malcom Naden was captured in 2012. Image: AAP/Ten.


It's not hard to see why the names Lateesha and Kristy are not as well known as the man who killed them. It's an unfortunate by-product of the way the story was consumed and what was shared about it. But at the end of the day it's important that we remember what's at the heart of this story – violence against women

In Australia one woman is murdered every week on average, and in 2023 we've already lost 47 women according to Destroy the Joint – a Facebook page which dedicates itself to counting dead women.

Every year mothers, daughters, sisters and friends are killed – most commonly by men they know. We must continue to say their names, share their stories and make noise so policy-makers and leaders have no excuse not to listen. So that their names are as recognisable as the men who murdered them. 

Malcom Naden's name might be infamous. But as Clancy told True Crime Conversations, "This is the story of two mums who lost their lives and kids who had to grow up without their mum[s]". 

It's a story about Lateesha Nolan and Kristy Scholes.

Feature image: Nine.