Despite new harassment and abuse charges, a woman who impersonated a Home and Away heartthrob to ‘catfish’ women online will remain behind bars.
Lydia Abdelmalek, 29, of Melbourne, was sentenced in June 2019 to a two-year, eight-month prison sentence for stalking six victims and impersonating soap star Lincoln Lewis, which one victim described as “sick mind games.”
Abdelmalek, on the other hand, was released almost immediately after filing an appeal.
She was released after posting a $10,000 bond and agreeing to abide by strict social media rules.
On Friday, the ruthless con artist appeared in Heidelberg Magistrates’ Court on a slew of new charges, including robbery, stalking, harassing with a carriage service, and violating bail conditions.
Her lawyer, Stary Norton Halphen’s Sam Norton, called his client’s police prosecution a “disgrace” and demanded that she be released immediately.
Abdelmalek is being housed at the Dame Phyliss Frost Centre in Melbourne, which is home to some of Australia’s most abusive female offenders.
Police say Abdelmalek got into a heated argument with a man at an Aldi supermarket in Epping, north of Melbourne, in March, during which he allegedly slapped her phone out of her hand.
Both claimed harassment and contacted police, with Abdelmalek venting on her victim on social media under a fictitious name on a neighbourhood Facebook page.
As the supposed victim defended himself, Abdelmalek is said to have doubled down on him.
She supposedly wrote, ‘Defending himself, or defending his woman that his wife isn’t aware of.’
‘Now that the cops are involved, he won’t be able to hide indefinitely.’ We have video footage as well.’
Abdelmalek proceeded to message her victim under a false identity, using a show photo of his own family as her profile photo, according to the court.
Abdelmalek later approached the man’s wife, according to Detective Senior-Constable Emily Trewarne.
Mr Norton questioned the credibility of the alleged victim, whose assault charge was dropped by police on Friday after a series of text messages between him and Abdelmalek surfaced.
Mr Norton wondered aloud, ‘Is it because of texts like this?’ ‘See, you said you loved me the last time, but I never did.’
The eminent barrister then proceeded to read out a series of strange conversations between the two, implying that they were in an intimate relationship.
The alleged victim wrote, ‘No one can forget my scent.’ ‘I’m like a delicious poison,’ she says.
Mr Norton said the victim was fabricating the charges that landed his client in jail.
As the officer, who had just returned from annual leave, stated that she had not seen the text exchange between the two, Mr Norton became visibly upset.
Mr Norton told the judge, “I’m very much disturbed by this and I’m going to stop my cross examination.”
‘This woman needs to be published right away.’ The approach taken here, in my opinion, is a complete embarrassment… the fact that these messages have not been considered or read beggars belief.’
Abdelmalek is also accused of bullying a female victim through a fake social media account, according to the court.
Abdelmalek has since provided police with an unedited running sheet of her interactions with the woman, which she denies.
Mr Norton had hoped to have Abdelmalek released from prison on Friday, but a 45-minute videolink stopped him from doing so.
She will now spend another weekend in jail as the court searches for a new date to resume the hearing.
The family of the woman Abdelmalek was accused of torturing to death will rejoice at Abdelmalek’s imprisonment.
From May 2011, Abdelmalek stalked seven people under the guise of Lewis and other aliases for around four years.
Last year, one of Abdelmalek’s victims committed suicide, but not before writing a statement detailing the pain of being duped into thinking the TV star was in love with her.
The woman said she was abused by her tormentor’s “sick obsession, twisted gratification, and unnatural satisfaction.”
After what the sentencing magistrate described as “calculated and inhuman” offending, another survivor said she had gone from party girl to recluse.
Abdelmalek went so far as to give her father, mother, sister, and brother-in-law explicit images and lewd messages.
Another victim of the Lewis alias explained how the’sick mind games’ turned her from a party animal to a recluse.
The former Home and Away star outlined his feelings of helplessness as a result of the catfishing, telling the court earlier that he felt powerless.
‘It destroys your mood and makes your day miserable.’ It makes you feel powerless and s**t,’ he explained.