"AN absolute psychopath" is how Detective Inspector Peter McKenna describes convicted murderer Malcolm Naden.
During a special visit to the Probus Club of Taree North, Peter spoke about his long career in the police force before delving into an in-depth presentation about his part in the operation and subsequent capture of Australia's most wanted criminal.
It was a timely talk, given the recent screening of the documentary about Naden, but Probus members all agreed that Detective McKenna's recount was even more thrilling and informative than the television program.
Most people would not be aware of the enormity of the operation, that escalated to a risk level of 'extreme' following the attempted murder of a police officer in December 2011.
Peter said he had been on leave at the time, but he knew instantly that his break would be over when news broke of the officer's near miss.
"We threw everything we had at it after that because we knew we were chasing someone who was really dangerous.
"In all my 23 years of policing, I've never heard of someone shooting a police officer unchallenged," he said.
Resources were tripled and included everyone from counter-terrorism teams, technical specialists, psychologists, police dogs and special response teams.
"He had the advantage because he knew the bush so well so we knew we had to really step things up and this became the type of manhunt that's never been seen before in Australia, we had to invent things as we went and every day our intelligence got better," Peter added.
Officers, including Peter, lived in the Gloucester region during the operation with round-the-clock shifts, research and studies going on.
"We'd tried a lot of short term operations but this was the first time we used all our resources on the best lead," he said.
Then on March 22, after months of false sightings and several different leads, Peter and his team received a prompt just after 7pm.
"We'd finished work for the night and were heading for dinner when we received information that there was activation in a hut.
"I'd joked that it'd be good if something happened that night because it was the first clear night we'd had in a long time.
"We didn't want to get too excited but we followed up with a few checks of the suspected area, phoning owners of the hut where the prompt had come from," Peter explained.
"They assured us that there shouldn't be anyone on their property and at this stage we were getting pretty anxious and excited."
"Sometimes luck's on your side and it just so happened that we had two extra response teams on hand that night because of an overlapping shift, we had everything we needed."
It wasn't until about midnight that the three response teams surrounded the hut.
Although they still weren't entirely sure if Naden was even inside they had the hut locked down and were relaying vision of a glow coming from within.
With Peter and two other police commanders waiting in a car nearby one team yelled that they had been compromised and then everything went 'crackly' over the radio.
"That's always the way in these big operations," laughed Peter.
"It was the longest two minutes of my life before another call came through with 'we got him, we got him'.
"We were just stoked.
"To get him without anyone being injured or killed is testament to the professionalism of the guys on the ground and the hard work by everyone involved."
Although the intricate details and the methods used in the final months and days of the operation cannot be printed, Peter said it's been a learning curve for the whole NSW police force and allowed them to devise and create some brand new technology to assist future crime fighting.
Malcolm Naden was convicted of two counts of murder, one count of attempted murder and several other crimes in June this year.
He was sentenced to life in prison and will spend the rest of his days in solitary confinement in Goulburn Jail, where Peter says Naden is quite happy.
"By all accounts he loves being in jail and he loves that he's in solitary because he doesn't have to see or speak to anyone. He thrives on the isolation."
"He's a very bad man, a significant criminal."