Cleo Smith: Man wrongly identified as toddler's suspected kidnapper to sue ...

Cleo Smith: Man wrongly identified as toddler's suspected kidnapper to sue ...
Cleo Smith: Man wrongly identified as toddler's suspected kidnapper to sue ...

A man wrongly identified as the alleged kidnapper of four-year-old Cleo Smith is planning to sue Channel Seven as he recalled the deep distress the shocking mistake has caused.

Nyamal man Terrance Flowers was wrongly shamed on social media after the West Australian child was found alive and well on Wednesday, 18 days after she vanished from her family's tent. 

Mr Flowers was confused by 'sleuths' online for Terence Darrell Kelly, 36, who has since been charged over Cleo's alleged abduction. The Seven Network also published the wrong picture.  

Daily Mail Australia revealed this week that Mr Flowers faced death and spearing threats in the wake of the claims.  

He went to his local police station in Karratha on Wednesday for help in getting the false social media posts shut down.

Later that night, he was at the hospital with his baby daughter when he became aware Seven had widely circulated his image online, wrongly identifying him as the suspect. 

A man plans to sue Channel Seven after he was wrongly identified online as Cleo Smith's alleged kidnapper. Pictured is the little girl with her parents on Thursday

A man plans to sue Channel Seven after he was wrongly identified online as Cleo Smith's alleged kidnapper. Pictured is the little girl with her parents on Thursday

'I got upset and went back into the police station. I ended up getting more upset and I had a panic attack in the police station,' he told Ngaarda Media.

A traumatised Mr Flowers, who Daily Mail Australia has chosen not to picture, was hospitalised following the panic attack and needed medical treatment to calm him down.

He has described what happened as unacceptable. 

'What they did was go straight on Facebook. The first person they seen got through my photos and uploaded on social media, and spread it around, not just in Australia, this is worldwide,' Mr Flowers said.

'I want them to do their job more seriously, and professionally and I'm gonna end up suing them anyways, cause it's not the right thing for them to be doing.'

Mr Flowers is now in talks with lawyers about possible legal action. 

The blunder has also caused deep distress and grief for Mr Flowers' partner and mother.

Terence Darrell Kelly, 36, (pictured) has been charged over Cleo Smith's alleged abduction

Terence Darrell Kelly, 36, (pictured) has been charged over Cleo Smith's alleged abduction

The wrong man was confused by 'sleuths' online for Terence Darrell Kelly, 36, (pictured) who has since been charged over Cleo's alleged abduction.

 The wrong man was confused by 'sleuths' online for Terence Darrell Kelly, 36, (pictured) who has since been charged over Cleo's alleged abduction.

Daily Mail Australia contacted Channel Seven for further comment.

The network was quick to issue an apology over the awkward blunder on Wednesday night.

'Earlier on Wednesday,  Seven News wrongly showed images of a man that were incorrectly labelled as the person under arrest over disappearance of Cleo Smith,' a statement said.

'These were removed promptly, but 7NEWS apologises for the error.'  

The misidentification came as the WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson reportedly held an emergency meeting with 20 Aboriginal elders in Carnarvon to ask for their help in easing tensions in the community.  

There have been claims Indigenous locals are being targeted by racists over Cleo's abduction, and also hold fears of recriminations in the community itself, a report said.   

A Western Australia man got death threats, including that he would be speared, after being wrongly identified as a suspect in the kidnapping of Cleo Smith (pictured)

A Western Australia man got death threats, including that he would be speared, after being wrongly identified as a suspect in the kidnapping of Cleo Smith (pictured)

A man wrongly identified as the suspect in the Cleo Smith kidnapping case was bombarded with death threats, including that he would be speared, police sources said.

A man wrongly identified as the suspect in the Cleo Smith kidnapping case was bombarded with death threats, including that he would be speared, police sources said.

Terry Kelly, the suspect in the kidnap of Cleo Smith in Western Australia, being taken to hospital. Another man of the same name was wrongly misidentified, as he has a similar name

Terry Kelly, the suspect in the kidnap of Cleo Smith in Western Australia, being taken to hospital. Another man of the same name was wrongly misidentified, as he has a similar name

As social media festered with theories about the 36-year-old Indigenous man being held over Cleo's kidnapping overnight, The Australian reported Mr Dawson told the elders: 'You are influencers in your community and you can talk to people who are more impressionable.' 

'You can be that voice of reason,' he was reported as saying.

Asked about reports of community unrest on Thursday, WA Premier Mark McGowan said: 'I believe some extra officers are in town, not necessarily for community unrest but there's a lot of police officers from Carnarvon that have been tied up in this operation as well who are still assisting us. 

'So that puts a drain on local resources. With that they've come to town to assist the local police,' he said.  

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