The parents of Cleo Smith, the young girl dubbed the Aussie Madeleine McCann after she was kidnapped for 18 days, have revealed that her attacker took his anger out on the girl by “rough[ing] her up”.
Cleo, who was four-years-old at the time, was kidnapped by sicko Terence Kelly while she and her family were camping in the Gascoyne region of Western Australia in October 2021.
As they slept in the Quobba Blowholes campsite, Kelly, now 37, snatched her from her family in the early hours of the morning on October 16, sparking a massive nationwide manhunt for the missing girl.
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Cleo, now six, was kept in isolation by the loner for nearly three weeks, with police searching across the country for her.
It was reported that when young Cleo begged to be returned to her parents, the sick kidnapper would turn up his radio to drown out her cries and hide her from his neighbours.
The case made headlines across the world in 2021, with Cleo being compared to Madeleine McCann, the young British girl who went missing in 2007 while on holiday with her parents in Portugal.
Her parents revealed to Australian current affairs programme 60 Minutes that during her harrowing ordeal, Kelly would “smack” Cleo and “rough her up” when he got angry,news.com.aureports.
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Her mum Ellie revealed that even years on from the traumatic event, Cleo is still massively affected by what happened to her.
“She still has her sad nights, her nightmare nights, some things she just can’t explain,” Ellie said of her daughter.
“[Cleo’s] nightmare nights are the worst nights, it’s just heartbreaking.”
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“Obviously it hurts to know that she was crying out for help and we weren’t there, it hurts to know she was crying out for help and it was ignored”.
In April, the sick kidnapper was jailed for more than 13 years after he pleaded guilty to kidnapping the young girl.
It is understood that he is currently appealing his lengthy sentence, which he has to serve at least 11 years before he can apply for parole.
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