Cleo Smith: ‘Loner’ suspect obsessed with Bratz dolls ‘winks at cameras’ as he’s taken to jail

Terence Kelly was escorted onto a plane by four police officers after being charged with two offences related to abduction

Holly Bancroft
Friday 05 November 2021 10:08
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Moment missing Cleo Smith is found by police
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The man charged with abducting 4-year-old Cleo Smith appeared to wink at journalists on Friday as he was led onto a plane that would take him to jail.

Terence Darrell Kelly is accused of kidnapping young Cleo from a tent she was sharing with her mother, step-father and younger sister at the Blowholes campsite, near Carnarvon, Western Australia, on October 16.

Cleo was miraculously recovered from Mr Kelly’s home on Wednesday, 46 miles away from where she had gone missing.

Detectives, acting off a tip, forced entry to the house and found Cleo in a well lit room playing with toys, according to reports. The home was only seven minutes away from Cleo’s family lived.

36-year-old Mr Kelly was pictured being transferred from his padded cell in Carnarvon to a Western Australia Police plane by officers on Friday morning. He was travelling to a maximum security prison in Perth and was barefoot and had shackles round his hands and feet.

It has emerged since his arrest that Terence Darrell Kelly had an obsession with Bratz dolls and had a large collection of them.

One of Mr Kelly’s social media profiles is a Facebook page devoted to the toys. He also posted a recording of himself inside a room filled with dozens of the dolls, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Terence Darrell Kelly appears to wink at cameras as he is transferred to a maximum security jail ahead of his December court hearing

Other posts on Kelly’s social media show him taking a doll for a car drive and wearing a Bratz doll shirt. One post is captioned “I love taking my dolls for drive arounds and doing their hair and taking selfies in public”. On the other, he commented: “Nothing beats chilling at home with my Bratz dolls.”

A store worker at the nearby Carnarvon Toyworld told local press that she had sold several dolls to Kelly over the years.

Mr Kelly has been described as a “loner” by local residents who were speaking to Australia’s Channel 7 News. A neighbour said: “I see him every day taking off in the car like he’s in a rush”.

And others said he was seen on Monday buying nappies, despite not having any children.

One local resident, Pricilla Milly-Milly, told PerthNow that Mr Kelly “never let anyone into his house” despite living in the area for a long time.

Police have said that they are interviewing Cleo in an effort to understand what happened during the 18 days she was missing. Western Australia’s acting police commissioner, Col Branch, said: “We have to do it very carefully - we have professional child interviewing experts.

“We’ll try to get information out of her about those 18 days. That’s a really hard, slow process, and it is okay if she doesn’t want to tell us. That’s okay too.”

Cleo Smith’s family issued a statement on Friday thanking “all those involved in the rescue of our daughter”.

They added: “We are humbled by the love and support that we have received from not only our local community but the whole of Western Australia and across the country.

“We are so thankful that our little girl is back within our arms and our family is whole again. As we try to get on with out lives, we ask that you respect our privacy.”

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