Woman guilty of ‘catfishing’ loses suppression order bid
A woman who posed as an Aussie soap opera heart-throb to prey on the emotions of young women has failed in a court bid to keep her family out of the public eye. Melbourne's Lydia Abdelmalek, 29, has been found guilty of six counts of stalking after assuming various aliases, including that of Home and Away actor Lincoln Lewis.
Her lawyer John Yianoulatos made an unsuccessful bid for a suppression order to be placed over her church, her job and siblings' employers during a special mention hearing at Heidelberg Magistrates Court today.
"There were threats made to my client's safety ... but her family has not received threats," Mr Yianoulatos told the court, before the application was dismissed.
However, magistrate Stephen Ballek placed a suppression order on the names of victims and their families to "avoid causing undue distress and embarrassment".
Abdelmalek sat in court with her arm around her mother for the majority of the matter.
News of her 'catfish' activity, used in one instance to form a deceptive online relationship with a former acquaintance of Lewis, made national headlines when the case surfaced in April.
Abdelmalek was found guilty of the charges in the same month.
She published online material relating to the victims, traced electronic communications and made threats.
Abdelmalek dedicated about four years from May 2011 to stalking.
She used the phone, post, social media and emails to communicate with her victims while located in Lalor in Melbourne's north.
Lewis, 31, the son of former rugby league player Wally Lewis, was made aware of the scam when contacted by one of the victims.
They went to primary school together but he'd had no contact with her for years, the ABC reported previously.
"It's come 2 my attention some weird ppl have made fake FB profiles impersonating me & causing alot of drama. Just deleted FB. Hope this stops," Lewis tweeted after becoming aware of the scam.
Abdelmalek left court on Tuesday before a decision was made on her suppression bid and her mother later refused to comment to waiting media, tripping as she left.
The matter is expected to return to court for sentencing on June 6.