Cleo Smith’s alleged abductor returns to court

Apr 01, 2022
Terence Darrell Kelly, 36, appeared in Carnarvon Magistrates Court via video link on Friday, March 29. Source: Getty Images.

The man accused of allegedly abducting four-year-old Cleo Smith from her family’s campsite last year has returned to court facing a new charge of assaulting a police officer.

Terence Darrell Kelly, 36, appeared in Carnarvon Magistrates Court via video link on Friday, March 29, where he plead not guilty to assaulting police following his arrest for the alleged abduction of Cleo Smith.

The matter will return to the Carnarvon court on May 23.

In an unexpected development earlier this year, the 36 year old admitted to abducting Cleo Smith after he entered a guilty plea to ‘forcibly taking a child aged under 16’ on January 24, 2022 in Carnarvon Magistrates Court.

Police originally charged the Western Australian man on November 4, 2021 with the alleged abduction of Cleo after an exhaustive search and investigation by authorities.

Detective Senior Sergeant Cameron Blaine, one of four officers who found Cleo, spoke to reporters briefly outside the courthouse on November 4.

“It’s obviously a combination of lots of hard work and that’s what we’ve been here for, so yeah, it’s fantastic,” he said.

“The matter is before the court so we’re not going to make any more comment at this stage.”

Cleo disappeared from the tent she was sleeping in with her parents at the Blowholes campsite in Macleod, north of Carnarvon, on October 16, 2021, police found the four-year-old alive in a locked house in Carnarvon at approximately 1am, November 3, 2021, 18 days after she went missing.

Deputy Commissioner Col Blanch confirmed in a statement that Cleo was found “alive and well” following her dramatic rescue.

“It’s my privilege to announce that in the early hours of this morning the Western Australia Police Force rescued Cleo Smith,” he said.

“This is the outcome we all hoped and prayed for.”

At the time Blanch thanked Western Australian Police for their “incredible police work” during the search.

“I want to thank Cleo’s parents, the West Australian community and all of the volunteers,” he said.

“And of course, I want to thank my colleagues in the Western Australian Police Force.”

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