A woman who impersonated a Home and Away heart-throb to ‘catfish’ women online is behind bars after being arrested on new charges.
Melbourne woman Lydia Abdelmalek, 29, was sentenced in June 2019 to a two-year, eight-month prison term for six counts of stalking, employing what one victim called ‘sick mind games’, impersonating soap star Lincoln Lewis.
But Abdelmalek was bailed almost immediately as she flagged an appeal.
Lydia Abdelmalek (right), and her father leave the County Court of Victoria last year
The former Home and Away (pictured) star explained how powerless the catfishing left him, telling the court at an earlier appearance he felt powerless
She was released with a $10,000 surety and directed to comply with strict social media restrictions.
The cruel scammer had been free in the community up until April 22 when detectives pounced on her over fresh allegations.
It is understood Abdelmalek now faces a swag of new charges, including assault, stalking, using a carriage service to harass and committing offences while on bail.
Abdelmalek made no application for bail and remains behind bars.
She had been due to appear in the County Court of Victoria on Thursday where police were believed to make an application to revoke her appeal bail.
Little is known about the alleged new offences, which are scheduled to go before the magistrate again on Friday.
When she appeared in the the County Court last year from the comfort of her dishevelled bedroom where she allegedly drove a young woman to suicide, prosecutors revealed she had already faced eight charges – two more than she was convicted on in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court in 2019.
Her appeal is expected to take anywhere up to six weeks when it eventually gets underway in June.
At that hearing, the court heard police planned to file six new statements to the court.
If convicted again, Abdelmalek faces even more time behind bars.
Abdelmalek had been previously accompanied by her father at her last actual appearances at the County Court of Victoria.
During one appearance, the elderly man lashed out at a television reporter with an umbrella.
The case has been significantly delayed to allow police to obtain the contents of Abdelmalek’s computer.
The hunter becomes the hunted: Lydia Abdelmalek leaves court in February last year with her barrister as reporters hit her with a barrage of questions
Tight lipped: Lydia Abdelmalek had nothing to say as she tried to escape a media pack that chased her and her father along Lonsdale Street outside the County Court of Victoria in February last year
Lydia Abdelmalek had remained free in the community on appeal bail
Police had previously said they believed the information contained on it would ‘clarify and support’ additional evidence that may elevate the seriousness of the charges and potentially identify other targets of Abdelmalek’s cruel deception.
Abdelmalek had pretended to be Lewis and used other aliases to stalk seven people for about four years from May 2011.
One of Abdelmalek’s victims took her own life last year, but wrote a statement beforehand outlining the trauma of being duped into believing the TV star was in love with her.
The woman said she felt tortured for the ‘sick fascination, perverse pleasure and unhealthy satisfaction’ of her tormentor.
Another victim said she had turned from the life of the party to a recluse after what the sentencing magistrate described as ‘calculated and cruel’ offending.
Abdelmalek went as far as sending explicit images of the woman and vulgar messages to her father, mother, sister and brother-in-law.
Another woman, who was similarly scammed by the Lewis alias, said the ‘sick mind games’ turned her from the life of the party to a recluse.
Soap star Lincoln Lewis explained how powerless the catfishing left him, telling the court at an earlier appearance he felt powerless
One of Abdelmalek’s (pictured) victims took her own life last year, but wrote a statement beforehand outlining the trauma of being duped into believing the TV star was in love with her
The former Home and Away star explained how powerless the catfishing left him, telling the court at an earlier appearance he felt powerless.
‘It kills your vibe, it ruins your day. It makes you feel powerless and it makes you feel s**t,’ he said.
‘It just takes away your happiness because now I’ve got this constant thought in my mind that something’s happening that I’m powerless to stop or even find out.’
Lewis found out about the catfishing scam when one of the two victims got in touch.
He had known her from primary school, A Current Affair reported.
‘She said “Linc, I’ve thought for the last couple of months that you and I have been dating”,’ Lewis told the court about his 2011 conversation.
‘My first reaction is, “How could you think that? How could you think that we’re dating when we haven’t seen each other in years?”,’ he said.
She will return to court in June for the appeal.
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