Melbourne catfish 'in denial' about crimes

·2-min read

A woman who impersonated TV stars to attract victims online before stalking them is a pathological liar who continues to deny her crimes to psychologists, a court has heard.

Lydia Abdelmalek, 32, was found guilty of six stalking charges in 2019 and was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison.

She pretended to be Home and Away heart-throb Lincoln Lewis and other aliases, including British actor Danny Mac, to stalk several victims over about four years from May 2011.

Abdelmalek was released on bail after launching an appeal of her conviction, but the guilty verdict was upheld in May and she was taken back into custody.

She is now appealing her sentence and appeared by video link from custody in Melbourne's County County on Tuesday.

Victims have called for Judge Claire Quin to use the appeal to increase Abdelmalek's sentence to deter others from committing similar crimes.

Prosecutor Angela Moran said Abdelmalek was a "pathological liar" who lied to psychologists preparing for her appeal.

"Anything that the appellant says should be taken with a great grain of salt because she is a serious liar," Ms Moran told the court.

"She lived a lie throughout this offending, going deep into characters, deep into complexity."

Abdelmalek maintained her innocence when she spoke with psychologists because she could not remember committing many of the crimes, Ms Moran said.

"Despite not having a real recollection of any of the index offences, she respected the expert opinion of the judges and this is part of what was causing her to question whether she was actually guilty or not," she said.

Abdelmalek's barrister Timothy Sullivan said his client was in denial about her offending and argued Ms Moran's remarks were inflammatory.

"Effectively, the power of the subconscious is that she's in denial," he said.

He said Abdelmalek's diabetes, time away from her parents and being held in protective custody would make her time in prison more onerous.

Judge Quin will sentence Abdelmalek on October 25.