Family of a catfish victim who took her own life after an ‘evil and delusional’ stalker posed as Home and Away heart-throb Lincoln Lewis reveal harrowing new details as they make one new demand
- Lydia Abdelmalek, 32, was found guilty of stalking and sentenced to jail
- She catfished victims by impersonating Home and Away star Lincoln Lewis
- Abdelmalek is now appealing her two-year and eight-month sentence
- One of her victims took her own life in 2018 after being traumatised by ordeal
- The victim’s family are calling on tougher penalties for internet catfishers
The family of a woman who took her own life after being stalked and harassed by Melbourne catfish Lydia Abdelmalek have called for a court to increase her prison sentence.
Abdelmalek, 32, impersonated Home and Away heart-throb Lincoln Lewis and British actor Danny Mac to attract women online, before stalking and harassing them.
She was found guilty of six stalking charges more than three years ago, but was released on bail during an attempt to appeal her conviction.
Victoria’s County Court upheld Abdelmalek’s guilty verdict in May and she was taken back into custody. She appeared in court on Tuesday to appeal against her two-year and eight-month sentence.
Five of Abdelmalek’s victims gave impact statements to the court, describing her as an ‘evil antagonist’ and ‘delusional liar’ who showed no remorse for her actions.
One of her victims took her own life in 2018. Her family said the prolonged legal process had delayed their grief and re-traumatised them.
Lydia Abdelmalek departs the County Court of Victoria in Melbourne in 2020. She appeared again in court on Tuesday
One of her victims took her own life in 2018. Her family said the prolonged legal process had delayed their grief and re-traumatised them
‘We have lived and breathed this nightmare for 11 years now,’ the woman’s sister told the court on Tuesday.
‘I feel deeply that justice has arrived too late for my sister and will never mitigate the senseless loss we feel or the life sentence my family and I have been unjustly served.’
She called for the court to use the appeal as an opportunity to increase Abdelmalek’s sentence because she ‘is a danger to society’.
‘The initial sentence of two-years and eight-months was issued over three years ago. My family has served that sentence already in the time it has taken for this appeal to be finalised,’ she said.
‘It is my hope that Ms Abdelmalek’s previous sentence will be increased to reflect all that she has put [her sister] through and all that we have suffered as a family.
‘May there soon be the full stop to this story we so desperately seek and undoubtedly deserve.’
She also called for laws to be changed to allow victims of catfishing and cyber bullying to have their complaints taken more seriously by police and to speed up the prosecution of such cases.
The woman’s father said Abdelmalek’s stalking and cyberbullying led his daughter down a path of ‘utter despair’.
Abdelmalek, 32, impersonated Home and Away heart-throb Lincoln Lewis (pictured) and British actor Danny Mac to attract women online, before stalking and harassing them
Her mother said reliving her daughter’s experience through three court cases had brought her grief to the surface.
Another stalking victim told the court said she was living in fear again after Abdelmalek launched legal challenges to her conviction and sentence.
She called for Judge Claire Quin to use the appeal as a way to ‘send a message’.
‘We should not create a culture that suggests that this behaviour or any other form of online abuse is acceptable,’ she said.
‘The consequences of the appellant’s actions must be severe enough that they serve as a deterrent, not only for them, but for any others contemplating this type of assault.’
The appeal will return in September.