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Australian man admits to abducting four-year-old girl from family tent

Police found Cleo Smith alone in a house 18 days after she went missing last October.

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Cleo Smith (WA Police/PA)

Cleo Smith (WA Police/PA)

Cleo Smith (WA Police/PA)

A man has pleaded guilty to abducting a four-year-old girl from her family’s camping tent on Australia’s west coast last year.

Police found the girl, Cleo Smith, alone in a house in Carnavon, a town of 5,000 people, 18 days after she went missing last October.

Terence Darrell Kelly, 36, admitted to the abduction during a brief court appearance in Carnarvon on Monday in a video link from a Perth prison, 900 kilometres (560 miles) to the south.

He faces a potential sentence of up to 20 years in prison on a conviction of forcibly taking a child aged under 16. He will next appear in a Western Australian state District Court in Perth on March 20.

Kelly has not entered a plea to other criminal charges he faces, including assaulting a public officer. Those charges have been adjourned to a later date.

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