A MAN who confessed to killing a British toddler will never be jailed as cops say they still don’t have enough evidence to lock him up.

Three-year-old Cheryl Grimmer was abducted while on holiday with her family at Fairy Meadow Beach in Wolongong, New South Wales, Australia in 1971.

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PA:Press Association

The man was extradited from Victoria in connection with the 1970 abduction and murder Cheryl Grimmer[/caption]

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Cheryl Grimmer, 3, (right) was kidnapped and murdered in 1971[/caption]

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Cheryl was snatched when she was three-years-old. Cops arrested a 64-year-old suspect last month in a major breakthrough
Caters News Agency

At the time, the man who confessed to have kidnapped the young girl confessed to the crime.

The little girl was strangled before her body was dumped.

However, police have since said there was insufficient evidence to arrest the man and he was able to walk free, Australian TV programme 60 Minutes reported.

ALLEGED KILLER WALKS FREE

Wollongong detective Frank Sanvitale was given the case to investigate and found the alleged killer’s confession, revealing horrific details of what allegedly happened to Cheryl.

60 Minutes had obtained the confession, which said the alleged killer strangled the little girl to death.

He was held in on remand at Silverwater jail with a trial set for May this year, and had pleaded not guilty.

The case has chilling echoes of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, also three, from her parents’ holiday apartment in the Algarve in May 2007.

The hunt for Grimmer’s abductor had gone cold, but police made a major breakthrough after tracking down a British family who witnessed the child’s abduction.

The witnesses, now in their 50s who were 9, 10 and 12 at the time, provided new information about the suspected kidnapper.

HORRIFIC ABDUCTION

The man is accused of strangling the youngster, though her body has never been found.

Officers made an appeal to trace the Goodyear family – Peter, wife Mavis and daughters Karen and Janette – who witnessed Cheryl being abducted from Fairy Meadow Beach in Woollongong, near Sydney.

Witnesses claimed a teenager was loitering near a shower block and public changing rooms at the time Cheryl vanished.

The security guard, who cannot be named because he was 16 at the time, is accused of abducting the youngster and strangling her less than an hour later.

Cheryl’s disappearance sparked a huge search including the military but no trace has ever been found of her.

She had been visiting the beach with her mum Carole and her three older brothers Ricki, eight, Stephen, six, and five-year-old Paul.

‘DEAD BUT MISSING’

The Grimmer family had migrated from England the year before and settled into a hostel near the beach as dad John worked away as a sapper in the Australian army.

The Grimmers returned to the UK to grieve but moved back to Australia permanently in 1980 to find answers.

In 2011 Cheryl was officially declared “dead but missing” and the investigation reopened as a homicide case.

Carole died four years ago and John also went to his grave without knowing what happened to Cheryl.

But they never gave up hope and refused to believe she had been murdered, for years keeping her bedroom just as it had been on the day she disappeared.

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Cheryl’s alleged killer will escape prison, a major 60 Minutes report revealed[/caption]

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The Aussie military joined the police in the search for the tot who disappeared from Fairy Meadow Beach in January 1970
Caters News Agency

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Little Cheryl pictured with her mum[/caption]

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Detective Frank Sanvitale was in charge of investigating Cheryl’s case in 2016[/caption]

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Cheryl with her dad John who served in the Australian Army
Caters News Agency
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Carole Grimmer with her three sons, Stephen, Ricki and Paul, the day after Cheryl went missing
Caters News Agency
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Detectives re-tracing the last known steps of Cheryl near the shower block
Caters News Agency

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PA:Press Association

The case has echoes of Madeleine McCann’s disappearance in 2007[/caption]


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