A Queensland man has been caught on CCTV leading a seven-year-old girl away from a shopping centre before he sexually assaulted her.
Sterling Mervyn Free, 27, lead the young girl from Kmart at Westfield North Lakes, north of Brisbane, in December last year.
In the security footage, he can be seen lingering in the toy aisle before telling the girl to “follow me”, according to 9News.
The little girl was reportedly Christmas shopping with her mother at the time of the abduction.
Free casually leads the girl out of the entrance of the the shopping centre past dozens of unaware shoppers.
He then took her to nearby bushland where she was sexually assaulted before returning her to the Westfield more than hour later.
Free was arrested two days after the incident and charged with deprivation of liberty, taking a child for immoral purposes and indecent treatment of a child under 12.
He appeared in Brisbane District Court on Wednesday and pleaded guilty to kidnapping the seven-year-old and molesting her in bushland.
Free was remanded in custody until his sentence hearing in October.
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