An Australian man has pleaded guilty to abducting four-year-old Cleo Smith and holding her at his home for 18 days.
Cleo vanished from her family’s tent while on a camping trip in Western Australia last October.
Her disappearance gripped the country and sparked a massive search that ended in police finding the girl in a locked house in her hometown of Carnarvon.
Terence Darrell Kelly, 36, pleaded guilty to a charge of child stealing in a court hearing on Monday.
His plea caught many by surprise ahead of what had been expected to be a lengthy legal process, Australian media reported.
Kelly was flown to a jail in Perth two days after police smashed their way into his house on 3 November and found Cleo inside.
Vision of the rescue released at the time showed the young girl identifying herself to officers and smiling.
Her family later released a statement saying they were “so thankful that our little girl is back within our arms”.