1. Catfisher Lydia Abdelmalek has appealed her jail sentence for stalking offences.
A Melbourne woman who impersonated an Aussie soap star to prey on unsuspecting women has been jailed for her elaborate scam, but almost immediately granted bail as she appeals the sentence.
Lydia Abdelmalek, 29, was on Thursday sentenced to two years and eight months in prison for six counts of stalking, with a minimum term of one year and nine months.
She earlier sat in Heidelberg Magistrates Court gripping pictures of Home and Away heart-throb Lincoln Lewis, who she impersonated, along with various other aliases to stalk seven people for about four years from May 2011.
A TV star was used to stalk women. Now one of them is dead. Post continues below audio.
The victims, who cannot be named for legal reasons, and their families cried when she was jailed.
Magistrate Stephen Ballek said the stalking was “calculated and cruel” and noted Abdelmalek refused to explain her actions and hadn’t shown remorse.
Abdelmalek appealed the sentence and was granted bail with a $10,000 surety and ordered to appear in the County Court on June 28.
As part of her bail conditions she will have to abide by social media restrictions.
Before Thursday’s sentencing, victims read statements detailing the relentless cyber bullying.
One victim took her own life last year, but penned a statement in 2016 outlining the trauma of being duped to believe the TV star was in love with her.
“I have been traumatised beyond belief, hounded with relentless abuse and nasty threats over a long period of time,” she wrote in the statement read to court by her sister.
“I felt like a person being randomly targeted and stripped of their freedom… tortured not for any crimes or wrongs committed, but for just the sick fascination, perverse pleasure and unhealthy satisfaction of the tormentor.”
In the statement, the woman said she had contemplated suicide and became close to being “just another statistic”. She died in October 2018.
Abdelmalek went as far as sending explicit images of the woman and vulgar messages to her father, mother, sister and brother-in-law.
“Do you really think your daughter’s aunty and godmother would be a dildo sucking slut?” one message to the victim’s sister read.
She also threatened to harm the woman’s niece.
The victim’s sister said justice had arrived too late.