Man Wanted to Eat 5-Year-Old Girl in Failed Kidnapping, Court Hears

Prosecutors in Australia claim that a man who attempted to abduct a five-year-old girl said he wanted to eat her. The man has pleaded guilty to assaulting and abducting the child in the country's Tasmania state.

Cecil Maurice Mabb of Rosebery tried to take the girl from a campground in Montagu in the north west of the island state on January 24 by grabbing her by the legs, throwing her over his shoulder and then throwing her into his car, according to Australia's ABC News.

A four-year-old boy who is a friend of the girl witnessed the incident and screamed at Mabb, alerting the girl's family. The child was returned to her family within an hour and Mabb fled, resulting in a large police search of the area that involved drones, a rescue helicopter and Parks and Wildlife rangers.

Yolanda Prince, the prosecutor in the case, told the Supreme Court of Tasmania in Burnie on Tuesday that Mabb wanted to eat the five-year-old.

It is alleged that while in maximum security custody at Risdon Prison, Mabb told prison staff that he was motivated to abduct the girl by a desire to eat her.

He also allegedly told staff that he had wanted to eat people since he was a child, according to ABC News.

Mabb's attorney, Hannah Phillips, told the court her client had said that but only on the advice of other prisoners who told him to make the incident look "as bad as possible" as this would grant him better access to medication and therapeutic help.

"So he said it, but he didn't mean it?" Justice Robert Pearce asked Phillips.

"Yes, he was coming off prescription drugs at the time and hadn't had any alcohol or cigarettes after a period of extensive use," Phillips replied.

Mabb has denied he intended to do anything sexual with the girl and the prosecution is not arguing that he did. However, he is accused of strangling the child.

A medical examination at the North-West Regional Hospital found injuries consistent with strangulation as well as blunt force trauma to the head and scratches and grazes on her body.

Prince said the case was one of "serious violence resulting in extensive and significant injuries" and called the abduction "particularly terrifying."

Mabb allegedly told police he "just needed company, someone to listen to me, someone to give me a cuddle," the court in Tasmania heard. His attorney told the court he had a troubled upbringing and hat witnessed "horrific crimes" in his own home, including incest and sexual abuse, among others.

Mabb reportedly committed sexual offences between 1995 and 2003 and spent four years in prison in Queensland. Phillips said her client had become dependent on alcohol and prescription drugs after the breakdown of his marriage in 2019 and was in a state of "depressed intoxication" at the time of the abduction.

"He saw going into custody as the only way to get help, but in sober hindsight, he now sees it as regretful," she said, adding that he should be considered for parole because of his early guilty plea and feelings of remorse. The court will consider the matter further on Wednesday.

Police Car in New South Wales
Members of the New South Wales Police Force in a police car help to clear a city street of protesters outside state parliament, following a rally by workers angry about proposed changes to the state's worker compensation scheme in Sydney on June 13, 2012. A man in Tasmania has pleaded guilty to abducting a five-year-old girl. GREG WOOD/AFP/GettyImages