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Former Home and Away star Lincoln Lewis has described his despair at learning a woman had been tricked into thinking she had been in a relationship with the actor.
In 2019, Lydia Abdelmalek was sentenced to a two-year, eight-month prison term on six counts of stalking while impersonating the soap star.
Over two years later, on Monday, September 27th, Lewis faced off with the catfish criminal via video link as she appeared at County Court of Victoria to appeal against her sentence, as per The Daily Mail.
Lewis revealed to the court that the woman believed they had been properly dating for the last couple of months. Police allege that Abdelmalek had used doctored images and even a voice message from Lewis’s phone to convince the woman that Lewis was the real deal.
Lewis explained that the alleged victim started to grow suspicious when face-to-face meetings purportedly with him kept getting cancelled. The woman had sent intimate videos and pictures to a phone number she believed to belong to him.
He spoke to the panicked woman several times as information about Abdelmalek’s scheme started to become apparent. “I asked if she was okay,” Lewis told the court. “Her answer was a big, fat No.”
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In court Lewis was subjected to hundreds of images allegedly doctored by Abdelmalek to dupe her victims. Some showed Lewis’ head transplanted on other bodies’ others showed a much younger Lewis taken by fans and friends; fake nude images were also chillingly included.
Abdelmalek faces a much longer time in prison if she’s convicted again of the catfish scheme. Her appeal is expected to take as long as six weeks to reach its conclusion.
She had pretended to be Lewis, amongst other aliases, to stalk seven people for around four years from May 2011 onwards. One of her victims actually took her own life, with a note that she wrote beforehand detailing her torment at Abdelmalek’s hands.
At an earlier court appearance, Lewis revealed his own torment at the ordeal. “It kills your vibe, it ruins your day,” he said.
“It makes you feel powerless and it makes you feel s**t. 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.”