Dad's relief after fugitive caught
WHEN Mick Peet's phone rang at 1.45am yesterday, he was tempted not to answer it, thinking it was a drunken mate on the end of the line.
But that phone call changed the Innes Park man's life.
It brought him the news he has been waiting to hear for the past seven years - Malcolm John Naden, the man wanted over the disappearance of his daughter, had finally been captured.
"I got a phone call from New South Wales detectives and they said: 'We've got him'," he said.
"I just went weak at the knees."
Mr Peet's daughter, Lateesha Nolan, disappeared from her home in Dubbo, NSW, in January 2005.
Naden, her cousin, has been wanted in relation to her disappearance, as well as the alleged murder of Ms Nolan's friend, 24-year-old Kristy Scholes, and an aggravated indecent assault of a 15-year-old girl.
The 38-year-old has been on the run for the past seven years and managed to evade police by hiding in rugged terrain in northern NSW hinterland, near Tamworth.
"I wanted to fire off a heap of questions, but I didn't know where to start," Mr Peet said.
"All I said was: 'I want you to hold on to him and not let him go'."
Mr Peet said the fugitive had managed to slip through the hands of police, who came close to catching him three times.
"I had a premonition it wouldn't happen for the fourth time," he said.
"Sure enough, we got the phone call."
The devoted dad admitted he had begun to lose hope of Naden ever being caught because he was "one little needle in vast country".
But Mr Peet vowed he would never give up on finding his daughter.
"That was one thing I promised to (Lateesha) - I made a pledge I'd never give up looking for her," he said.
Naden hit police radars in December when he was spotted in dense bushland near Nowendoc, east of Tamworth, where a police officer was allegedly shot by the fugitive.
Mr Peet said he was grateful to all the residents in the nearby Gloucester area and those involved in the search.
"It's been a long seven years," he said.
"It's always on your mind - you can't think straight because you're always thinking 'what's happened to my daughter?'
"(Naden's) got to have some answers for me."
Naden has been charged with murder, two counts of aggravated assault and one charge of shooting a gun with intent to murder
He is also suspected of being involved in the disappearance of Lateesha Nolan