The man who abducted and assaulted a five-year-old girl at a campground near Smithton said he desired to eat people, a court heard on Tuesday.
In the Supreme Court in Burnie on Tuesday, Crown prosecutor Yolanda Prenc said Cecil Maurice Mabb had admitted while in custody that "he abducted the child so he could eat her".
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Ms Prenc told the court that at Risdon Prison Mabb said he had the desire to eat people since he was a teenager, but that he hated those thoughts and wanted help.
Defence lawyer Hannah Phillips did not dispute that Mabb had said such things, but submitted to Justice Robert Pearce that he did not mean it.
Ms Phillips said her client had been advised by other inmates in the maximum-security wing of Risdon Prison to exaggerate the circumstances of his crimes so he would have greater access to psychological assistance and support.
Mabb was taken into custody in late January following a 24-hour manhunt across the Circular Head following the disappearance of a child at the Montagu campground.
Ms Prenc told the court the child and another four-year-old boy were riding bikes at the campground while their parents set up tents on January 24.
Mabb grabbed the girl by her legs and lifted her over his back, and walked back to his car while she screamed and the little boy pleaded with him to let her go, the court heard.
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Terrified, the boy walked about 400m back to camp and sounded the alarm.
"That man scared me," Ms Prenc told the court were the boy's words to his parents.
"The man got [her]."
The girl was found on a beach about 1km away within an hour, though she had multiple injuries the court heard were from strangulation and blunt force trauma.
Mabb had fled the campsite and called police to report his crime himself, and was found by Parks and Wildlife officers at Arthur River the following day.
Ms Prenc said he told triple zero operators that he needed professional help, and gave his full details.
"Oh look it's all bad mate. It's all bad. I've got a really extreme emergency. I just tried to kidnap a child," Ms Prenc said Mabb's words on the phone call.
Mabb cried as the court heard details of his crime and his life.