The man accused of kidnapping Cleo Smith from a remote West Australian campsite and holding her prisoner in his house has pleaded guilty.
Terence Darrell Kelly, 36, fronted Carnarvon Court via video link from a maximum-security Perth prison, three months on from the alleged crime that captivated the world.
The doll-obsessed loner admitted to snatching the four-year-old in pink pyjamas from her family tent at the Blowholes on October 16 last year.
Cleo’s mother Ellie Smith and stepdad Jake Gliddon woke to find no sign of the little girl or her sleeping bag, sparking a frantic search.
In the early hours of November 3 – 18 days after Cleo’s disappearance – detectives kicked down the door to an unsuspecting house, just a short drive from the local police station.
Inside a locked room, they found the little girl awake and playing with toys.
Kelly also appeared on a new charge of assaulting a public officer inside the Carnarvon watch house the day after his arrest, but no plea was entered.
Details of how detectives honed in on Kelly, and why he abducted Cleo, are yet to be revealed.
Kelly will front Perth District Court in March, when a date may be set for his sentencing.