A man who lured a young girl from a Brisbane Kmart store while her mother was shopping has pleaded guilty to taking a child for immoral purposes, deprivation of liberty and indecent treatment.
Sterling Free, 26, took the seven-year-old girl from the Westfield North Lakes shopping centre in December last year. He drove her to Pumicestone Passage, more than 30 minutes away, before returning her to the store about an hour-and-a-half later.
Police tracked Free down with the help of the store's CCTV footage after an investigation that involved detectives from the Child Abuse and Sexual Crime Group.
He was charged on December 12 and remanded in custody ahead of today's plea hearing, news.com.au reports.
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Footage shows the moment Free watched the girl in the toys aisle, before returning and saying to her "Follow me".
He will remain behind bars until he is sentenced in October.
In a statement after his arrest, police Detective Superintendent Tony Fleming was reluctant to share details.
"As in all investigations involving child-protection matters, officers make decisions about balancing the need to bring an offender to justice while ensuring community safety more broadly," he said.
The Courier Mail reports Free was kept in isolation because of threats to him and his family.
The 26-year-old is the father of twin girls and lives with his long-term partner.
The victim's family was in court today but did not wish to make comment to waiting media.