CLEO Smith was held locked in a room for 18 days by her doll-obsessed kidnapper and still wakes up screaming from nightmares, her mum has revealed.
Ellie Smith and her partner Jake Gliddon today gave a landmark TV interview on the family’s ordeal after Cleo, 4, was snatched from their camping holiday in October.
The couple had an agonising wait for over two weeks after the girl vanished from their tent at the Blowholes near Carnarvon in Western Australia.
Cleo was finally found some 18 days later as it was revealed she had been snatched by oddball Terence Darrell Kelly.
Kelly has pleaded guilty to abducting Cleo.
He faces a maximum term of 20 years in prison when he returns to court to receive his sentence.
His home was found to be full of child’s dolls – and he is reported to have been an active member of online communities dedicated to the fashion toy, Bratz.
Ellie and Jake have now given their first TV interview – speaking after signing a historic $2million (£1million) deal to appear on 60 Minutes.
It is the highest fee in the history of Australian TV.
The brave mum revealed how Cleo still wakes up screaming as she suffers bad dreams after being snatched by Kelly.
Cleo doesn’t like closed doors and sleeps with the lights on as she suffers “nightmare after nightmare”.
And she blasted Kelly’s doll obsession as “just disgusting”, saying she believes the snatcher wanted to make the girl his plaything.
“Obviously, like, that’s what he wanted. He wanted a little doll. It was nothing that I ever want anyone to feel,” she said.
Kelly even followed the parents plight on social media as he had their daughter locked up in his strange home.
“It’s so heartless. I was begging for my daughter, and here was someone who was reading me begging for her back. That’s just disgusting,” Ellie said.
She added: “[Cleo] told us that she was scared. She was locked — locked in a room, and she was scared, and she didn’t know where we were.”
Chillingly the parents say they still do not know the “full story” of what happened as Cleo appears to be repressing much of what happened during those horror two weeks.
“She has blocked out a lot as to what’s happened. She went into survivor mode and pushed it very far away,” said Ellie.
She added: “Every day is a new day. Yeah, every day and night is different. But she’s OK.
“She’s — happy, she’s bubbly. She’s sad, she’s angry — but she’s getting there.”
Cleo was taken in the early hours of the October 16 from the outdoorsy family’s tent at a popular campsite on the coast of Oz.
Cleo then woke up in the night – but after speaking to her parents, she put herself back to bed.
The following morning the family realised the tent zipper was open.
“Cleo’s gone,” Ellie exclaimed as the horror dawned on her, she revealed.
Jake and her then searched the surrounding area, but they quickly realised she was missing – starting a nightmare the captured the attention of the entire world.
The mum feared she would never see her little girl again as her hope started to dwindle with the lengthy search dragging on into early November.
Cops then phoned her at 1am with the incredible news – they had found Cleo alive.
She was discovered locked in a room in a house four miles from where she was taken in the dead of night from the family’s tent.
Overwhelmed, she then rushed to see her little Cleo – her “baby”.
“She was sitting on the bed and we ran up to her and she was like ‘Hi mum’, like nothing had happened,” she said.
And one of the first things she noticed was that Cleo’s hair appeared to have been cut and dyed.
Ellie said: “I was just angry that someone tried changing her to kind of fit what they wanted.”
“I was just so angry (with) the things that she was saying.”
Ellie also blasted online trolls who blamed her and Jake for Cleo’s disappearance, saying the messages took her to a “dark place”.
Kelly’s sentencing date is yet to be set and he remains held in the maximum-security Casuarina Prison in Perth.