Home and Away star Lincoln Lewis refused to help a woman who had been tricked into believing they were dating because he was concerned about his own image, a court has heard.
Lewis endured a scathing grill on his second day on the witness stand Tuesday over Melbourne woman Lydia Abdelmalek’s appeal over her sentence for impersonating him.
The Australian soap star appeared via video link in County Court of Victoria and was forced to defend his actions after being asked by Abdelmalek’s victim in 2011 to go to the police to report that his identity had been stolen.
Home and Away star Lincoln Lewis was more concerned about negative press than helping a woman who would later commit suicide for being cheated on by a person posing as him, a court has heard
Lydia Abdelmalek (right) and her father left Victoria County Court last year
The court heard that it took Lewis six long years before he finally made a statement to the police.
The woman, whom he had known personally, would tragically commit suicide before her tormentor was brought to justice.
Abdelmalek was sentenced in June 2019 to two years and eight months in prison on six counts of stalking, using what one victim called “sick mind games,” posing as Lewis.
She immediately appealed the verdict and has remained practically free in the community ever since.
Lewis had spent most of Monday testifying on behalf of the prosecution in the appeal process.
On Tuesday, Abdelmalek’s attorney Richard Edney launched an extraordinary attack on him, with prosecutors intervening at one point.
Lewis had tried to explain how his voice message about what police believed was Abdelmalek’s phone was part of her vicious deception.
But Mr. Edney just wanted him to answer his specific questions.
“Have you finished your speech?” the lawyer barked.
Edney took Lewis to the dead woman’s statement to police in which she claimed the couple “stopped being friends” in June 2011.
Abdelmalek impersonated Lewis and, starting in May of that year, used other aliases to stalk seven people for about four years.
The court heard the woman told police that Lewis had agreed to meet with her in Bondi to discuss the situation, but withdrew at the last minute.
The former Home and Away star (pictured) explained how powerless the catfish left him
Lincoln Lewis in a recent Instagram shot. Tuesday he was grilled in the virtual witness bench
“Lincoln Lewis didn’t meet me and later told me he didn’t want anything to do with filing a complaint with the police because of his reputation and his job as an actor,” the woman told police.
“He didn’t want his job prospects to be affected by such a complaint in the future. He was afraid that the story would get out in the media and he didn’t want that.’
Lewis denied the allegation.
‘I remember I said to’ [her] because someone is pretending to be me and not really me, the person doing this I don’t really know what to do and that’s why I told her to talk to the police.”
The court heard the woman told police she was “shocked” in 2011 by Lewis’s initial response to her request for help.
“I was shocked that he would not support me in filing a complaint with the police… due to his lack of interest in doing so, we cut off communication shortly after. He wouldn’t answer my calls. Lincoln Lewis made no statement.’
Lewis said he remembered her asking him to testify and that he agreed.
“I have agreed to make a statement. I don’t agree,” he said.
Edney told Lewis his statement came in June 2017.
“And that wasn’t until after the Victoria Police got involved. You hadn’t made a statement before then,’ he said.
Lewis said he made his statement when he realized it was “crucial” that he made one — albeit some six years later.
‘I remember I said to’ [her] that she had to go to the police because there wasn’t much to gain if I didn’t know about anything and made a statement about someone posing as me when I had done nothing,” he said.
Home and Away star Lincoln Lewis expected to appear in court to testify against cruel catfish
The fighter becomes the hunted: Lydia Abdelmalek leaves court last February with her lawyer as reporters hit her with a barrage of questions
Tight lips: Lydia Abdelmalek had nothing to say when she tried to escape a media pack that chased her and her father along Lonsdale Street outside Victoria County Court in February last year
“Eventually, when she said it was crucial that I (to the police), me and (a friend) both went to the police station to make our statements.”
“Six years later,” Mr Edney joked.
Edney told the court that Lewis had wrongly portrayed himself in court as going out of his way to help the victim.
‘[She] had made it clear that was not the case,” he said.
Abdelmalek, who also appears in court via video link, watched as Lewis was scrutinized by her lawyer.
She carried an A4 photograph of Lewis as her victims read their impact statements at her original trial.
On Monday, Lewis spoke about the woman’s stress and panic after being told their alleged relationship was a scam.
“Please tell me you’re lying,” the woman begged Lewis.
Lewis told the court that the woman thought they had been dating for the past few months.
Using edited footage and a voice message from his own phone, police claimed Abdelmalek had cruelly convinced her that she was dating Lewis.
Lewis said Abdelmalek’s alleged victim became suspicious when face-to-face meetings allegedly with him were cancelled.
“She was suspicious that we wouldn’t see each other in person,” he said.
Lydia Abdelmalek has remained free on bail in the community on appeal
Soap star Lincoln Lewis explained how powerless the catfish left him, telling the court on a previous appearance that he felt powerless
One of Abdelmalek’s (pictured) victims committed suicide last year, but wrote a statement beforehand in which she outlined the trauma of being cheated on into believing the TV star was in love with her
The woman had sent intimate videos and photos to a number she believed was him.
“I asked if she was okay. Her answer was a big, fat No,” Lewis told the court.
Lewis spoke to the delirious woman several times as more chilling information was revealed about Abdelmalek’s ruse.
“It scared her,” Lewis said. “She was confused about how it had happened.”
Since her bail on appeal, Abdelmalek has been accused of breaking up a married man’s relationship after falling in love with him.
She spent a brief stint in jail after being incarcerated on April 22 amid fresh allegations that she was once again tormenting strangers.
Abdelmalek faces a significantly longer jail term if she is convicted again for her catfish scam.
Her appeal, which has been pending for weeks, was expected to take up to six weeks before reaching a conclusion.
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