Cleo Smith abduction suspect ‘viciously beaten by lags on first day in prison’

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The 36-year-old man arrested on suspicion of abducting “Australian Madeleine McCann” Cleo Smith is now in hospital suffering with head injuries after reportedly being assaulted by fellow inmates in a holding cell.

Local news broadcasts showed the suspect in an ambulance, with what appeared to be bandages around his head.

The man’s name has not been released by Western Australia police, but he was described by neighbours as a “quiet guy” and a “bit of an oddball”.

Police say they are not looking for anyone else in the case and that the suspect was “known” to them. He had no previous connection to Cleo’s family and lead investigator Superintendent Rod Wilde said the crime appeared to be “opportunistic”.

Cleo was abducted on 16 October 2021 while she was on a camping trip with her family in the Gascoyne region of Western Australia.

Western Australia police reported that the zip on the flap of Chloe’s tent had been opened further than she could reach and there was “no way” the four-year-old could have opened it herself.

“The positioning of that zipper for the flap is one of the circumstances that has caused us to have grave concerns for Cleo’s safety,” said WA police’s Inspector Jon Munday .

  • Cleo Smith: Neighbours heard 'crying' from suspect's home days before missing girl found

After a massive search and the offer of a million-dollar (£546,000) reward, police zeroed in on the suspect, who lived just six minutes from the Smith family. They raided a property in Carnarvon on November 3.

Neighbours said that the man been seen buying nappies on Monday, despite not having children.

One of his neighbours, Henry Dodd, told Nine News that the man had been “acting a bit strange lately”.

“Everyone that knows the person that stays in that house,” he added. “Wouldn’t think that it would be him… We got a shock ourselves that it was him.”

Describing the moment officers raises the suspect’s home as a “wonderful day,” Western Australia’s Police Commissioner Chris Dawson told reporters the suspect was a “local man” and added that “we will be having something further to say later”.

He said that it was time for the people of Carnarvon to come together:“We can rejoice that this little girl has been found,” he said. “But we need to move forward as a community as well.”

  • Crime

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