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Man charged with kidnap of Cleo Smith kept ‘doll room’ in his house


Terence Darrell Kelly

Terence Darrell Kelly

Cleo Smith with her mother Ellie following the four year old's rescue.

Cleo Smith with her mother Ellie following the four year old's rescue.

Bodycam footage shows a man speaking to 4-year-old Cleo Smith during her rescue. Photo: Western Australia Police Force/Handout via REUTERS

Bodycam footage shows a man speaking to 4-year-old Cleo Smith during her rescue. Photo: Western Australia Police Force/Handout via REUTERS


Terence Darrell Kelly

Terence Darrell Kelly, the man charged with the kidnapping of a four-year-old Australian girl, had a doll room inside his house, according to reports.

The 36-year-old, who was arrested following a night raid on a home in the coastal town of Carnarvon, posted numerous photos of himself surrounded by the toys on social media.

“I love taking my dolls for drive arounds and doing their hair and taking selfies in public,” he posted to Facebook in April last year, news outlet WA Today reported.

Cleo Smith disappeared from her family’s tent in remote Western Australia last month, sparking a frantic air, land and sea search.

She was missing for almost three weeks until being found in a bedroom in Kelly’s home during a night-time raid – just a short drive from her home in Carnarvon.

“The lights were on and she was playing with toys, I think that’s about all I want to say,” WA Police Detective Senior Sergeant Cameron Blaine said.

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“This is still a matter that needs to go before the courts. There’s certain aspects about what we saw that is going to be evidence.”

A member of staff at a toy shop in the town told reporters she had sold several dolls to Kelly over the last few years.

Police refused to answer questions on whether the toys were found inside the property. Superintendent Rod Wilde, head of the taskforce, said he “didn’t want to go into that”.

Kelly screamed “I’m coming for you!” during his appearance at Carnarvon Magistrates’ Court yesterday before saying to the judge “What the f*** are the media doing here?” before gesturing to journalists in the gallery.

“It’s an open court,” the magistrate said. Kelly appeared shoe-less and was guarded by two police officers. He was not required to enter a plea and did not apply for bail.

According to local media, he has been remanded in custody until December 6.

Many had feared the search for Cleo Smith would end in tragedy, but the discovery of her “alive and well” sparked elation in Australia, with police admitting “seasoned detectives” were “openly crying with relief”.

The force yesterday released audio recording of the rescue, in which officers can be heard urgently trying to affirm her identity.

“We’ve got her”, “You’re all right” excited police are heard to say, before another asks: “What’s your name? What’s your name? What’s your name, sweetheart.”

“My name is Cleo,” the girl eventually responds.

“Your name is Cleo,” the detective repeats. “Hello, Cleo.”

The child was reunited with her mother Ellie Smith and stepfather Jake Gliddon soon after her rescue. “Our family is whole again,” Ms Smith said on social media.

She described waking at 6am on October 16 to find the tent unzipped and her oldest daughter missing.

A massive land and sea search was initially mounted in the sparsely populated region on the assumption that she had wandered from the tent, but more evidence began to support an abduction. The position of the zipper on the tent flap – too high for Cleo to reach – suggested she had not opened it herself.

This caused “great concern” for her safety, with Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde saying police believed the abduction was “an opportunistic-type event”.

Chris Dawson, Western Australia’s police commissioner, was briefed by officers late on Tuesday before they executed the search warrant on the Carnarvon home.

“They briefed me and said, ‘Look, I think we’re on to something here’,” he told ABC radio.

“We hoped we’d find her alive. It’s remarkable she’s alive, you know, after 18 days.”

Detectives who specialise in crimes involving children and child abuse have been sent from Perth to help local police interview Cleo.

It is hoped she will be able to provide vital information on the investigation, although it is not yet clear when she will be interviewed.

The small town of Carnarvon was decked out in balloons and “Welcome home” signs as residents celebrated the news of Cleo’s rescue.

One of her rescuers, detective Cameron Blaine, said he visited the family after Cleo was released from a brief hospital stay on Wednesday and she appeared to be coping well. (©Telegraph Media Group Ltd 2021)

Telegraph Media Group Limited [2021]

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