A court has heard horrifying details of the moment a sex fiend snatched a five-year-old girl from a campground.
A court has heard horrifying details of the moment a sex fiend snatched a five-year-old girl from a campground.

Campground cannibal snatches girl so he ‘can eat her’

A SELF-professed paedophile who snatched a five-year-old girl from a campground in Tasmania's far North-West told staff at Risdon Prison he had done so intending to eat her, a court has heard.

Cecil Maurice Mabb, 42, has pleaded guilty to assault and attempted abduction in relation to the incident at Montagu Campground on January 24.

Crown Prosecutor Yolanda Prence told Justice Robert Pearce in the Supreme Court in Burnie on Tuesday that intelligence from Risdon Prison indicated Mabb had told staff he told police he was a paedophile because that was better than "what he really was".

"He told staff he had taken the little girl so he could eat her."

Cecil Maurice Mabb, 42, has pleaded guilty to assault and attempted abduction.
Cecil Maurice Mabb, 42, has pleaded guilty to assault and attempted abduction.

 

Defence counsel Hannah Phillips said there was no evidence Mabb said those words in jail.

"My client told me he had been instructed by other inmates to make up stories and to make them as bad as possible to get better access to medication," she told the court.

"He was coming down from alcohol, prescription medication and not smoking cigarettes in jail."

Mabb, who is originally from Queensland, had bought land and set up a caravan and shed at Rosebery in 2019.

Those structures have been burnt down since Mabb has been in custody following the attempted abduction.

He had been living at campgrounds in Circular Head before the offence because he had been working picking coriander at Stanley.

Mabb appeared in court in person wearing a prison-issue green tracksuit. He wept as the impact on his young victim was discussed.

The little girl was snatched off her bike as she was riding with a friend after arriving at the campground with her parents and siblings and friends of the family and their kids about 4.30pm on January 24.

As the adults set up tents, the five-year-old and her four-year-old mate rode off towards the boat ramp.

Mabb had parked his ute in bushland.

He snatched the little girl up by the legs and threw the screaming child into his vehicle.

He choked her with his hands around her neck and drove off towards the beach.

The little boy ran back to the campsite holding his chest and in a distraught state.

"That man scared me," he told his parents. "The man got …"

The children's parents and other campers then mounted a search and police were called.

Between 30 minutes and an hour later, the little girl was found on a beach about 1km from the campsite.

 

Montagu Campground.
Montagu Campground.

 

The court was told she was dazed and in shock and oblivious to her name being called by frantic adults.

She told the man who found her "someone brought me here and I don't know how to get back".

She had visible red marks around her neck, and scratches, grazes and bruises.

She told her parents she could not speak or breathe when the man's hands were around her neck. The youngster was taken to the North West Regional Hospital.

Police then received a phone call from Mabb who told them he had just tried to kidnap a child. He told them he was returning to his house at Rosebery.

Road blocks were set up before police received a mobile signal from Mabb's phone in the Arthur River area. He contacted police again, sounding intoxicated, but would not say where he was.

On January 25, a drone and the police chopper were deployed to search Arthur River and Parks and Wildlife Service officers also helped with the search.

He was spotted by rangers who rang triple-0.

The court heard Mabb ran towards one of the rangers with a hammer raised above his head, saying: "Run, run, you can run. You need to get outta here and ring the police."

He later walked out of the bush calling to police: "It's me. It's me you are looking for."

In an interview at the Burnie Police Station, Mabb said he was a paedophile and had grabbed the girl because he wanted to cuddle someone.

"I needed to do this to get help and to be locked up," he told police.

Mabb said he had no intention of sexually assaulting her but he just wanted company.

The hearing continues on Wednesday. Justice Pearce will then consider his sentence.

helen.kempton@news.com.au

 

Originally published as Campground cannibal snatches little girl so he 'could eat her'



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