Indigenous man wrongly accused of Cleo Smith's abduction aims to sue 7 News

Indigenous man wrongly accused of Cleo Smith’s abduction aims to sue 7 News

This week, a Nyamal man was wrongly identified as Cleo Smith’s abductor by 7 News and subsequently suffered a severe panic attack requiring medical attention.

Terry Flowers was at the hospital with his own baby when 7 News identified him as the accused abductor of missing toddler Cleo Smith.

Flowers, who is also referred to by his mother’s name, Kelly, suffered intense distress after his image could be seen all over social media, connecting him to the Cleo Smith disappearance.

Terry Flowers Cleo Smith
Image: SBS

Terry was excited to hear the news that Cleo had been found safe and alive. “I rang my partner and told her they found that baby, that girl. We was happy for her”, he said.

He was soon shaken by a call from his sister saying she had his image up as “the person who took the girl”.  Immediately Terry headed to the local police station for assistance, explaining the situation.

The post was quickly removed, but had been circulating long enough for popular news outlet Channel 7 and Sunrise to post it on their website.

“We seen it up on Channel 7 and Sunrise page. I got upset and went back into the police station,” he said.

On his return to the Police station, Terry suffered a severe panic attack and ended up requiring medical treatment. He was subsequently administered medication to calm him down.

He has since criticised the Chanel 7 media outlet, saying they should have done their job properly: “that stuff is not acceptable.”

Terry then revealed he has been liaising with lawyers in regard to taking legal action.

“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,” he said.

7 News have since published an apology to its website:

“Earlier on Wednesday 7NEWS wrongly showed images of a man that were incorrectly labelled as the person under arrest over disappearance of Cleo Smith,” it read, “These were removed promptly, but 7NEWS apologises for the error.”