Man who kidnapped girl, 5, from family campground said he ‘wanted to eat her’
A man kidnapped a five-year-old girl from a Tasmania campground and later said he'd intended to eat her, a court has heard.
Cecil Maurice Mabb, 41, has pleaded guilty to assaulting and abducting the child from Montagu Campground on January 24.
Burnie Supreme Court heard the girl's family had been setting up tents at the site when she went off for a bike ride with her four-year-old male friend.
Prosecutor Yolanda Prence said Mabb had parked his ute in isolated bushland near the campground before grabbing the girl by her legs and throwing her in his car as she screamed.
The court was told Mabb also strangled the child, who later told police she hadn't been able to breathe or speak while his hands were around her neck.
Her friend raced back to her family and told them "the man scared me … he got her," the court heard.
A camper discovered the girl, dazed and alone on a beach, within an hour and she was reunited with her family. Upon examination in hospital it was found she had injuries consistent with strangulation, as well as blunt force trauma to her head and scratches and grazes on her body.
Mabb called the police himself shortly after the incident, telling them "it's all bad … it's a real emergency … I just tried to kidnap a child", the court was told.
He then fled the scene, sparking an extensive police search involving drones, a rescue helicopter and Parks and Wildlife rangers on foot.
Ms Prence said the abduction was "particularly terrifying", not only for the girl but for her friend who witnessed it and is now too afraid to be alone or play outside his family's house "because of the bad man".
Mabb's lawyer Hannah Phillips said when he realised what he'd done the following day he contemplated suicide. He was found in bushland by rangers, who he threatened with a hammer, telling them to leave and get the police instead.
He has always denied he had any sexual intentions with the girl, telling police he just needed "someone to give me a cuddle" and that the child reminded him of his own granddaughter.
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However while being held in maximum security at Risdon Prison, Ms Prence said Mabb had told prison staff he had abducted the girl because he wanted to eat her, having wanted to eat people since his own childhood.
Ms Phillips said her client was going through drug withdrawal at the time and had been advised by fellow inmates to play up his psychological problems so he could access better medication and therapy.
Mabb had a troubled upbringing, witnessing crimes such as incestuous abuse and human trafficking in his family home in Queensland, Ms Phillips said.
He began sexually offending between 1995 and 2003, later pleading guilty to all of them and serving four years in prison and had not offended further since then.
At the time of the incident at the campground Mabb was in a state of "depressed intoxication" following the breakdown of his marriage in 2019, the court heard.
Ms Philips said Mabb was a good candidate for parole because he had pleaded guilty early on and had expressed genuine remorse.
The court has adjourned until Wednesday.
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