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Alleged abductor of four-year-old Australian Cleo Smith has case delayed

Cleo Smith disappeared from her family’s tent in Western Australia in October.

Carnarvon, Western Australia, the region that Cleo Smith and her family are from
Carnarvon, Western Australia, the region that Cleo Smith and her family are from
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

THE HIGH-PROFILE CASE of a man charged with abducting a four-year-old girl from a remote Australian campsite was delayed today after his lawyer won an adjournment.

Cleo Smith disappeared from her family’s tent in Western Australia in October, sparking a major search operation that many feared would end in tragedy.

The little girl was found 18 days later alone inside a locked house in the coastal town of Carnarvon, a short drive from where she disappeared.

Her accused abductor, Terence Darrell Kelly, appeared in court today via video link from prison, where he has been held for more than a month in maximum-security custody.

The 36-year-old was not asked to speak during the brief hearing but his lawyer’s request for a seven-week adjournment was granted.

Kelly was remanded in custody until his next appearance via video link on 24 January.

The case has attracted global attention that reached fever pitch when Cleo Smith was discovered and reunited with her parents in early November.

Police swiftly detained Kelly and he was remanded in custody after his first appearance in court last month.

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The next day a shackled Kelly was accompanied by armed riot squad guards on a charter flight from Carnarvon to the state’s capital of Perth, where he has been held in prison since.

Kelly is alleged to have acted alone and police say he does not have a link to the family.

He has been charged with multiple offences including forcibly taking a child under 16.

© AFP 2021

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