A Melbourne catfish who impersonated a Home and Away heart-throb to attract women online is behind bars after losing an attempt to overturn her conviction.
Lydia Abdelmalek, 32, was found guilty of six stalking charges three years ago, after employing what one victim called "sick mind games" by impersonating soap star Lincoln Lewis.
Abdelmalek, who has always maintained her innocence, launched an appeal in 2019.
Her guilty verdict was upheld by Victoria's County Court on Thursday, the judge revoking Abdelmalek's bail and she was taken into custody.
"I am satisfied the appellant was responsible for the stalking behaviour," Judge Claire Quin told the court.
She also found Abdelmalek had stalked one of the victims with the intent to harm them, make them feel frightened or apprehensive.
The ruling came after a hearing that lasted almost a year and included Abdelmalek taking the stand to give evidence.
Judge Quin labelled the case as "bizarre" and rejected Abdelmalek's evidence, saying her account did not make sense.
"I found her account confusing, inconsistent and that she was deliberately evasive when challenged as to her responses," she said.
Abdelmalek pretended to be Lewis and used other aliases to stalk seven people for about four years from May 2011.
The court heard she also created a fake account to impersonate English actor Danny Mac and tricked her victims into sending intimate photos to her.
"The enormity of this behaviour cannot be over-exaggerated and included as part of the catfishing the creation and sending of a fake magazine article about Danny Mac," Judge Quin said.
One of Abdelmalek's victims took her own life, 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.
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Australian Associated Press
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