Aboriginal man wrongly identified as Cleo Smith’s ‘kidnapper’ is threatened with spearing

The aboriginal man wrongly identified as Cleo Smith’s kidnapper sought police protection after being threatened with being speared and killed in a traditional Aboriginal punishment. 

Terrance Flowers, also known as Terry Kelly, was recently misidentified as four-year-old Cleo Smith’s alleged kidnapper as they share the same name. His face was all over social media, where he was shamed for a crime he didn’t commit.

Thankfully, little Cleo, from Carnarvon, Western Australia, is alive and well. She was found 18 days after she disappeared, thanks to neighbors who spotted leads they previously missed.

However, according to police sources, Mr. Flowers was blasted for her kidnapping. He received a number of death threats and became at risk of being speared in a traditional Aboriginal punishment.

As Daily Mail reports, the incident followed an alleged emergency meeting between Western Australia’s Police Commissioner Chris Dawson and 20 Aboriginal elders in Carnarvon. The conference was held after it was revealed that Indigenous locals were being targeted by racists over Cleo’s abduction.

Apart from the false claims made by social media users, Mr. Flowers was wrongly identified as the suspected kidnapper by the Seven Network.

Following their mistake, the media company issued an apology statement, saying:

“Earlier on Wednesday 7NEWS wrongly showed images of a man that were incorrectly labelled as the person under arrest over the disappearance of Cleo Smith. These were removed promptly, but 7NEWS apologises for the error.”

Mr. Flowers’ aunt, Nyamal woman Karen Beazley, commented:

“When the family told him his face was on the … news, he’s broke down and cried and he was sobbing, really upset. I would like people to wait for the police to give out proper information because jumping the gun can cause someone who is innocent … people can go for the wrong person.”

Mr. Flowers now plans to sue the media outlet for mistakenly accusing him of Cleo’s abduction.

According to a recent post by Ngaarda Media, Mr. Flowers has engaged Senior Associate of O’Brien Criminal and Civil Solicitors to represent him in a defamation lawsuit. The accused man himself said:

“I want just not to get an apology from them. I want them to do their jobs more seriously and professional. And I’m going to end up sueing them anyways.”

After the real kidnapper was exposed, the police have confirmed that he has faced court for kidnapping. A follow-up post by Ngaarda Media states:

“The Western Australia Police Force has charged a 36-year-old Carnarvon man with various offences relating to the abduction of 4-year-old Cleo Smith.

The man was taken into custody shortly before officers from Operation Rodia rescued the missing girl from a locked house in Carnarvon in the early hours of Wednesday, 3 November.”

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