When Lydia Abdelmalek was told she’d be spending two years and eight months in prison, she clutched a photo close to her chest.
The photo was of Australian actor Lincoln Lewis, who she’d been impersonating for years.
She’d convinced numerous women Lewis was in love with them, one of those women was so distraught by the scam she ended her own life.
Mamamia’s daily news podcast The Quicky speaks to the ABC journalist who broke the story. Post continues after audio.
Lewis first found out about the catfish using his image when a woman (who can’t be named) who he went to primary school with, got in contact in 2011.
“Linc, I’ve thought for the last couple of months that you and I have been dating,” he recounted in court proceedings, the video of which has been obtained by A Current Affair.
“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 told court.
“And then she kept saying to me, ‘Linc, what do I do?’ Many times.”
The woman, a Virgin flight attendant, told Lewis she was scared because this person now knew everything about her.
The catfish also knew Lewis’ family home address and his Virgin Velocity Frequent flyer number.
He panicked and called his parents asking them to beef up security at their home.
“This person had said to her that because they hadn’t seen each other in person, could she send photos and videos of herself,” Lewis told court.
Abdelmalek then sent those intimate photos to her victim’s family and threatened to send them to her employer.