Rachel Fieldhouse

Legal

“Bizarre” Home and Away impersonator loses court appeal

“Bizarre” Home and Away impersonator loses court appeal

Content warning: This article includes mentions of suicide.

A female ‘catfish’ who impersonated a Home and Away star to attract women online and was found guilty of stalking has failed in her bid to overturn her conviction.

Lydia Abdelmalek was found guilty of six counts of stalking three years ago after she impersonated Lincoln Lewis, the star who played Geoff Campbell in the popular soap.

Though she first launched her appeal in 2019, the guilty verdict was upheld in Victoria’s County Court on May 26, as reported by The Canberra Times.

“I find the appellant was responsible for the stalking behaviour,” Judge Claire Quin told the court.

Judge Quin described the case as “bizarre” and rejected evidence presented by Ms Abdelmalek.

“I found her account confusing, deliberate and that she was deliberately evasive,” Judge Quin said. “Her account does not make sense.”

The court also heard that a phone seized from Ms Abdelmalak’s home during the appeal in relation to another case contained “incriminating” evidence against her, according to the ABC.

The court heard that the phone contained a wealth of material that “supported the accounts provided by the victims”, including hundreds of texts and pictures sent to the women she stalked, intimate photos, and Mr Lewis’ real voicemail.

“Much of this material was not available at the time of the Magistrates’ hearing,” Judge Quin said.

“The enormity of this behaviour could not be over exaggerated.”

Ms Abdelmalek impersonated the TV star and used other aliases to stalk seven people over a four-year period starting from May 2011, in what one victim called “sick mind games”.

One of Ms Abdelmalek’s victims who died by suicide wrote a statement prior to her death where she outlined the trauma she experienced from being tricked into believing the actor was in love with her.

She said she felt tortured for the “sick fascination, perverse pleasure and unhealthy satisfaction” of her tormentor.

Another victim said she went from being the life of the party to a recluse after what the sentencing magistrate described as a “calculated and cruel” offence.

If you are experiencing a personal crisis or thinking about suicide, you can call Lifeline 131 114 or beyondblue 1300 224 636 or visit lifeline.org.au or beyondblue.org.au.

Image: Heidelberg Magistrates Court