Man who kidnapped 4-year-old Cleo Smith sentenced as more disturbing details are revealed

vt-author-image

By Phoebe Egoroff

Article saved!Article saved!

A man who kidnapped four-year-old Australian girl Cleo Smith has just been sentenced, and more disturbing details have been revealed.

Terence Kelly, 37, appeared in a Western Australian District court this week where he was sentenced to 13 years and six months in prison on charges of stealing a child, after pleading guilty in January 2022. He will be eligible for parole after serving 11 years.

According to News.com.au, the Western Australian Police Commissioner Col Blanch stated of the sentencing: "This is the greatest story in Western Australian policing history. I would expect the community would never think that 13-and-a-half-years is enough. But Judge Wager had to weigh up many things, and there were many mitigating circumstances, and I respect the court's decision."

He further added that he was glad that the courts had brought the "offender of that evil crime to justice."

Little Cleo was snatched in the early hours of October 16, 2021, with Kelly admitting in court that he had been high on methamphetamines at the time. Cleo had been with her mother Ellie Smith, stepfather Jake Gliddon, and younger sister Isla on a camping trip when they decided to stay at the Quobba Blowholes campsite, about an hour north of their hometown of Carnarvon.

In the early morning of October 16, Kelly crept into the family's tent and kidnapped Cleo. What ensued was a statewide manhunt, where police and volunteers searched for Cleo for 18 days.

BBC News detailed that the four-year-old was held captive in a room for the entire 18 days, with a door that was modified to lock from the outside. Throughout the trial, the court heard how Kelly would turn up the radio to drown out Cleo's cries for her parents.

Over 100 police officers were involved in the investigation into Cleo's disappearance, with authorities making a breakthrough when they were able to trace a cell phone number that was linked to the campsite around the time of Cleo's disappearance.

The mobile phone number led police to Kelly's home, where Cleo was found. Videos of her rescue circulated, showing Cleo identifying herself to police and smiling.

Kelly eventually told police he felt guilty for taking the young girl, and that he had not been intending to keep her. The court also heard that Kelly had suffered severe neurological impairment after being exposed to trauma as a child. He created a "fantasy world" to protect himself from reality, and was also a methamphetamine user.

Featured image credit: richard sowersby / Alamy

Man who kidnapped 4-year-old Cleo Smith sentenced as more disturbing details are revealed

vt-author-image

By Phoebe Egoroff

Article saved!Article saved!

A man who kidnapped four-year-old Australian girl Cleo Smith has just been sentenced, and more disturbing details have been revealed.

Terence Kelly, 37, appeared in a Western Australian District court this week where he was sentenced to 13 years and six months in prison on charges of stealing a child, after pleading guilty in January 2022. He will be eligible for parole after serving 11 years.

According to News.com.au, the Western Australian Police Commissioner Col Blanch stated of the sentencing: "This is the greatest story in Western Australian policing history. I would expect the community would never think that 13-and-a-half-years is enough. But Judge Wager had to weigh up many things, and there were many mitigating circumstances, and I respect the court's decision."

He further added that he was glad that the courts had brought the "offender of that evil crime to justice."

Little Cleo was snatched in the early hours of October 16, 2021, with Kelly admitting in court that he had been high on methamphetamines at the time. Cleo had been with her mother Ellie Smith, stepfather Jake Gliddon, and younger sister Isla on a camping trip when they decided to stay at the Quobba Blowholes campsite, about an hour north of their hometown of Carnarvon.

In the early morning of October 16, Kelly crept into the family's tent and kidnapped Cleo. What ensued was a statewide manhunt, where police and volunteers searched for Cleo for 18 days.

BBC News detailed that the four-year-old was held captive in a room for the entire 18 days, with a door that was modified to lock from the outside. Throughout the trial, the court heard how Kelly would turn up the radio to drown out Cleo's cries for her parents.

Over 100 police officers were involved in the investigation into Cleo's disappearance, with authorities making a breakthrough when they were able to trace a cell phone number that was linked to the campsite around the time of Cleo's disappearance.

The mobile phone number led police to Kelly's home, where Cleo was found. Videos of her rescue circulated, showing Cleo identifying herself to police and smiling.

Kelly eventually told police he felt guilty for taking the young girl, and that he had not been intending to keep her. The court also heard that Kelly had suffered severe neurological impairment after being exposed to trauma as a child. He created a "fantasy world" to protect himself from reality, and was also a methamphetamine user.

Featured image credit: richard sowersby / Alamy