Terence Darrell Kelly has pleaded guilty to snatching 4-year-old Cleo Smith while she was on a family camping trip.
The 36-year-old was dramatically arrested in the West Australian coastal town of Carnarvon in the early hours of November 3 – 18 days after the young girl vanished from the family tent at the remote Quobba Blowholes campsite.
Kelly faced Carnarvon Magistrates Court on Monday via video link from the maximum-security Casuarina Prison in Perth where he entered his guilty plea to forcibly taking a child under 16.
The matter was committed to the WA District Court for March 25.
Kelly is also facing other charges, including assaulting a public officer, which he is yet to enter a plea to, and that matter was adjourned until February 28.
Cleo was rescued from Kelly's locked house after detectives forced their way in. She was alone in a room, playing with toys.
Kelly was arrested on a nearby street.
Terence Darrell Kelly has pleaded guilty to snatching Cleo Smith. Photo / Supplied
He was last seen in public with no shoes and wearing a long-sleeved white shirt when he was shackled as officers escorted him onto a plane, before flying him from the small coastal town to the state's capital.
The shackles were put in place after Kelly had to be hospitalised twice with self-inflicted injuries while in custody, police said.
Several items were seized from Kelly's home, including a doll and colouring pencils.
In the days after she was rescued Cleo's mum Ellie Smith and stepdad Jake Gliddon praised the officers who helped find their little girl.
"We would like to take this opportunity to thank all those involved in the rescue of our daughter Cleo Smith," a statement from the family read.
"In particular, we would like to thank WA Police, all those involved in the initial search, the Carnarvon community, local businesses and of course our family and friends."
- by Angie Raphael and Lauren Ferri, news.com.au