Terence Darrell Kelly has pleaded guilty for abducting Cleo Smith (four-year-old) – swiftly bringing the case of child snatching against him to a quick conclusion.
Kelly, 36, entered a guilty plea to a single charge of taking Cleo from her family’s tent at the remote Blowholes campsite near Carnarvon, Western Australia last October.
On Monday, he was released from police custody and faced a magistrate by videolink. He also faces an assault charge against a public official the next day.
This case will be referred to the Perth District Court, March 20. He will then be sentenced.
Kelly has yet to plead guilty to any other charges.
Terence Darrell Kelly pleaded guilty in an shocking development to kidnapping Cleo Smith, four years old (pictured).
Kelly, 36, pleaded guilty to one charge: taking Cleo, (pictured with Ellie Smith, her mother) from the tent of her family at the isolated Blowholes campsite in Carnarvon last summer
Kelly appeared today in Carnarvon before Ben White, the magistrate. She merely uttered ‘guilty” when her lawyer stated that she was prepared to plead to one charge.
Kelly’s lengthy legal proceedings were expected to take months. This admission is a significant change despite the fact that detectives have spent many months preparing for it.
A statement of facts was given to the 36-year old just before Christmas, which may have had an influence on his plea.
His lawyer Kate Turtley-Chappel said it was important her client plead guilty to the single kidnapping charge as soon as possible.
Kelly will face a sentence hearing to decide when he will be sentenced. This hearing will include details about Kelly’s actions in relation to this crime.
Cleo was discovered healthy and well 18 days after her disappearance from the campsite. The discovery has sparked more than two weeks’ worth of international interest.
The little girl had awakened at 1.30am to ask for water. However, when her parents woke up at 6am, the little girl was gone. A land-air and sea search failed to locate any trace.
Police announced that Cleo was missing five days ago and gave a $1million reward.
Terence Darrell Kelly 36 was accused of keeping Cleo for 18 days in Carnarvon. He was later charged with forcibly taking under-16 children.
Cleo’s mother Ellie Smith and stepfather Jake Gliddon appeal for information during her disappearance. Cleo was recovered alive in early November 18 days after her disappearance from the campsite.
His sentencing will take into account the effects of Kelly’s 18 day stay at her house on Cleo as well as her immediate family.
He will remain in custody inside a secure cell at Casuarina Prison in Perth and will return on Monday as one of the jail’s most high-profile inmates.
Cleo, who was locked in a property minutes away from her home at Tonkin Street in Carnarvon (nearly 1000km north-east of Perth), was saved.
Police entered the residence on November 3. They found the child alone, unharmed, and playing with toys in her room.
Kelly was also taken into custody on the street nearby at around the same moment. Kelly is accused of acting alone, with police saying he didn’t have any connection to Cleo.
Following his court appearance, he was placed in a shackle and joined by an armed squad of guards while boarding a charter plane from Carnarvon for Perth.
Cleo was photographed with Ellie Smith (left) and was taken from the property she lived in just minutes of her family’s home, Tonkin Street. She is located about 1000km north-east of Perth.
Kelly received two self-inflicted wounds while being detained and the extra security measures were put into place.
Cleo has pleaded guilty after it emerged that Cleo’s parents signed a $2million agreement with Channel Nine, just weeks following the girl’s disappearance.
She has a lucrative contract with her mother Ellie Smith, and her stepfather Jake Gliddon. This deal is thought to represent an Australian television recording.
Max Markson, a prominent talent agent, is believed to have organized the deal. The interview will likely include a telling-all interview with 60 Minutes as well as Nine publications stories.
There is also speculation of a six-part special for its streaming service, Stan and that young Cleo herself may feature in the interviews, The Australian reported.
Kelly has pleaded guilty after it emerged that Cleo’s parents had signed a $2million agreement with Channel Nine only weeks after Cleo was abducted.
Nine won the Spotlight broadcast on Channel Seven to seal the deal, even though Seven West Media Chairman Kerry Stokes had an interest in the story.
‘Nine was scared at the end of the year after they lost their No 1 position – this seems a desperate attempt to regain the mantle … and it won’t work,’ an inside source told the publication.
According to some employees, the deal has made them mad.
“What is the potential consequence of asking this young girl what her life was like, when she’s not able to tell us what it was?” one journalist asked.
“What are its optics for the viewing public?”
Daily Mail Australia reported that Cleo’s parents had considered changing Cleo’s name in order to avoid unwanted attention.
After similar experiences, the couple sought out advice from others parents.
Cleo, who was unharmed by the police force entry into her house and is playing with toys alone, was discovered in a room well-lit and unharmed by them.
Cleo, who was forcibly taken from the Blowholes campsite tent by her family and kept there for 18 days, is being investigated by Forensics.
The group is asking about the psychological recovery of young victims of high-profile crimes, as well as whether or not they received professional counseling and if that was something their parents thought worthwhile.
The parents are worried about their child’s ability to cope with the years of intense attention she will receive, as they were already in the news for much of her early childhood.
Daily Mail Australia was told by a source that they are concerned about the negative consequences of media coverage.
In an attempt to safeguard her daughter’s identity, Ms Smith raised the issue with friends of possibly changing Cleo’s name (first and last)
Source said that they were worried about the possibility of people connecting later.
Daily Mail Australia reports that Western Australian police encouraged Ms Smith and other families who had experienced trauma to speak with her about Cleo’s prospects.
A spokeswoman for WA Police Force stated that the force provides support in all family matters.
Ms Smith has even raised with friends the possibility of changing Cleo’s first and last names in an effort to protect her daughter’s identity as she grows into adulthood
Daily Mail Australia was told by Tim Watson-Munro, a forensic psychologist who believed that Cleo’s parents could benefit from talking to other families.
He stated that he believes it is a good thing, as long people are willing and able to talk with one another. It’s similar to any other type of therapy.
“Those who have experienced trauma often feel the best equipped to talk to others and are more likely to relate to it.
They don’t accept people who only have a medical or academic view. People benefit from their real-life experiences.
“It’s amazing that people are doing this, honestly, it’s helping people.