News WA man, 36, charged over abduction of Cleo Smith

WA man, 36, charged over abduction of Cleo Smith

Cleo Smith and mum Ellie leave their house the day after the four-year-old was rescued by police. Photo: AAP
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A man arrested the night Cleo Smith was discovered in a locked house has faced court charged over the alleged abduction.

Terence Darrell Kelly appeared before a magistrate in Western Australia on Thursday after being taken into custody the same night police found four-year-old Cleo.

Photographs have emerged of the 36-year-old whose multiple Facebook pages show him pictured with Bratz dolls. Other pictures on his social media pages show collections of dolls, the toys kept in packages and on display inside a home.

In one photo uploaded to Facebook last year, Mr Kelly is shown taking a doll for a car drive. The caption reads: “I love taking my dolls for drive arounds and doing their hair and taking selfies in public”.

Detectives declined to comment on Mr Kelly’s doll collection.

They have not made public their beliefs about any suspected motive other than to say before Cleo’s rescue that it appeared her alleged abduction was “opportunistic”.

Mr Kelly, who is alleged to have acted alone, has no connection to Cleo’s family and was not on a list of known sex offenders in Carnarvon.

Terrence Kelly has multiple Facebook pages and shares pictures of dolls. Photo: Facebook

Cleo was found alive and well early on Wednesday, 18 heartbreaking days after she went missing from her family’s tent at the remote Blowholes campsite.

It has been revealed that when police burst into a locked Carnarvon house just before 1am, Cleo was playing with toys in a bedroom.

The little girl was returned home to her mother Ellie Smith, stepdad Jake Gliddon and baby sister Isla, who were at their home just six minutes’ drive from where Cleo was allegedly being held.


Ms Smith accompanied Cleo, who smiled at photographers while clutching a pink balloon, to the local police station on Thursday.

It’s understood the little girl was set to speak to specialist child interviewers for the first time.

Officers found Cleo, alone in a room and physically unharmed, after breaking into the locked-up house – and the remarkable moment was captured by an officer’s body camera.

“My name is Cleo,” she said when asked for her name.

Mr Kelly, who is yet to enter a plea to his charges, was arrested on a nearby street around the same time.

Police have confirmed he was taken to hospital twice following his arrest after self-harming while in custody.

He did not apply for bail during his first court appearance and will beb remanded to reappear next month.

Superintendent Wilde said it was yet to be established whether Cleo was kept at the property for the entire 18 days she was apart from her family.

Homicide detective Cameron Blaine, who was among Cleo’s rescuers, spent time with the family on Thursday and said the little girl appeared to be holding up well.

“I can only see her from the outside. But from that point of view, I’m amazed that she seems to be so well adjusted and happy,” he said.

“It was really heartwarming to see that she’s still bubbly and she’s laughing.

“She’s falling asleep in her mother’s arms. There was one occasion where she asked if she could lay next to mum and have Ellie look at her while she fell asleep.

“It’s really good to see that she’s adjusted, she’s getting some sleep, she’s playing in the backyard exactly how you would expect.”

Premier Mark McGowan also met the family, describing Cleo as a delightful little girl who spoke to him about her school and her dog.

“It was a lovely experience to meet her … she was a very bright, upbeat, sweet little girl,” he said.

“They’re decent, fundamentally honest people.”

Authorities have been tight-lipped on the exact intelligence that led officers to Cleo’s location.

They had been seeking the driver of a car that was seen leaving the Blowholes campsite around the time she was allegedly taken.

“That hasn’t been confirmed as yet,” Supt Wilde replied when asked whether it would be alleged Mr Kelly had been the driver.

“But certainly we would say that that car was significant and it was in the right time frame.”

He said the specialist child interviewers that have been flown to Carnarvon would meet with Cleo when the time was right.

Cleo was pictured smiling and waving from a hospital bed soon after reuniting with her mother and stepdad.

Her rescue has captivated the nation and WA Police have been hailed for the investigative breakthrough that led to her discovery.

-with AAP