A woman who impersonated a Home and Away heartthrob to ‘catfish’ women online is accused of attempting to bust up a married man’s relationship after becoming infatuated with him.
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’ and impersonating soap star Lincoln Lewis.
On Monday she was released back into the community on bail after being locked up on April 22 amid fresh allegations she is again tormenting strangers.
Lydia Abdelmalek (right), and her father leave the County Court of Victoria last year
The former Home and Away (pictured) star told the court at an earlier appearance he felt powerless in the face of the catfish scam
How Abdelmalek drove a woman to DEATH
Abdelmalek had pretended to be Lincoln 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 a confident person into a recluse.
The former Home and Away star told the court at an earlier appearance he felt powerless by the catfishing.
‘It kills your vibe, it ruins your day. It makes you feel powerless and it makes you feel s**t,’ he said.
She had originally been released with a $10,000 surety after appealing her sentence and released, as long as she complied with strict social media restrictions.
On Monday, Magistrate Meagan Keogh again ordered her off social media.
In documents filed to the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court, it was revealed how police allege Abdelmalek was back up to her old tricks.
Police allege Abdelmalek befriended her alleged victim about a year ago and quickly began monitoring her social media pages.
Months later she met the woman at a shopping centre near her home in Epping where she bragged about her notoriety.
‘Do you know I’m very famous,’ she allegedly told the woman. ‘Do you watch the news?’
Abdelmalek proceeded to deny the allegations she was sentenced over in 2019 before asking her about her secret relationship with a man who would become her second alleged victim.
In March this year, police allege Abdelmalek confronted the man at work where she threatened him.
‘Do you want to play these games? I can play these games in front of everyone,’ court documents allege she said.
Police allege Abdelmalek then began tormenting that man’s alleged mistress via fake Facebook accounts.
The court heard police claimed Abdelmalek got into a heated argument with the man at an Aldi supermarket in Epping – north of Melbourne – in March where she claimed he slapped her mobile phone from her hand.
She later made public complaints to the supermarket giant using false online accounts, it was alleged.
The cruel scammer appeared in the Heidelberg Magistrates’ Court last week on a swag of new charges, including stalking, using a carriage service to harass and committing offences while on bail.
Lydia Abdelmalek leaves court in February last year with her barrister as reporters hit her with a barrage of questions
At that hearing, her lawyer, Stary Norton Halphen’s Sam Norton attacked the credibility of the alleged male victim, whose claim of assault was withdrawn by police on Friday after a series of text exchanges he had with Abdelmalek appeared.
‘Is it because of messages like this,’ Mr Norton said. ‘See you told me you loved me last time ha ha ha I never did.’
The respected barrister proceeded to read out a series of bizarre exchanges between the pair indicating they were in an intimate relationship themselves.
‘No-one can forget my smell,’ the alleged victim wrote. ‘I am like a sweet poison.’
Mr Norton claimed the victim was lying about the allegations that saw his client locked up.
He had hoped to have Abdelmalek released from jail on Friday, but was hampered by a videolink that only lasted 45 minutes.
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
Mr Norton had condemned the way police had gone about locking up his client and proceeded to come to court unprepared.
The court had heard the police officer who pressed the charges against Abdelmalek had failed to read a series of texts he claimed cast doubt on the allegations.
‘I’m very considerably troubled by this and I’m going to cease my cross examination,’ Mr Norton told the magistrate.
‘This woman should be released immediately. The approach that has been taken here, is in my submission, an absolute disgrace… the fact that these messages haven’t been considered or read just beggars belief.’
Prosecutors had strongly opposed the alleged catfisher being granted bail, declaring she was accused of carrying out similar offences that she had been appealing in the County Court of Victoria.
Abdelmalek will next appear in court on August 9.
Lydia Abdelmalek had remained free in the community on appeal bail before new allegations surfaced
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
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