A woman pretended to be multiple soap stars including Hollyoaks actor Danny Mac so she could prowl for victims to stalk and harass.
Lydia Abdelmalek has been slapped with more jail time after she appealed against her two-year and eight-month sentence and lost in Australia.
The serial catfish pretended to be Home And Away heart-throb Lincoln Lewis and other famous actors, so she could find three victims on social media from 2011.
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The ordeal triggered one woman to end her own life in 2018. She highlighted the traumatic experience in 2016.
In the penned statement, she expressed sadness over the false belief that the famous star was in love with her.
Abdelmalek caused severe stress to the victim after she sent explicit images of the woman and distasteful messages to her parents and siblings.
Have you been catfished? Share your story with [email protected]
On Tuesday (October 25), she appeared in Melbourne’s County Court where she was re-sentenced to four years in jail after she lost the appeal against her 2019 conviction.
The victim's sister called for the court to take the opportunity to increase the sentence because Abdelmalek "is a danger to society."
The woman's family said the drawn-out legal process has delayed their grief and traumatised them again, reports 7News.
Another victim duped by the Lewis alias said the appeal should be used to “send a message” about the repercussions of online abuse.
Judge Claire Quin listened to their calls for an extended sentence and said the offending was "persistent and malicious."
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Quin said she had warned Abdelmalek and her lawyers “a number of times” that she could add a worse sentence if they pursued the appeal.
“This matter proceeded despite an overwhelming prosecution case and full knowledge of the additional stress that flows to the victims as a result,” she said.
She said the catfish had dedicated hours of her time to secretly pursuing her victims.
“The appellant created a web of false identities and characters,” Judge Quin said.
“Despite the content of some of the material being reflective of soap opera, it was not fantasy – it was real and impacted real people.
“What may begin as light-hearted, quickly can escalate to have significant consequences for the psychological wellbeing of those to whom the risk is directed.”
For emotional support, you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email [email protected], visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.
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