Wednesday 20 September 2017

Exclusive: 'It’s absolutely horrendous - my kids are devastated' - mum says husband took his own life after being 'blackmailed in social media sex video scam'

* Heartbroken wife says husband handed over €1,000 to conwoman
* 'I know in my heart and soul he would never ever have done that if it wasn’t for that video'

Picture posed
Picture posed
Compromising video was allegedly posted to Facebook
Compromising video was allegedly posted to Facebook

Cathal McMahon and Brian O'Reilly

A MOTHER has claimed her husband took his own life after he was blackmailed by a sex scammer using a compromising video posted to social media.

A garda investigation has been launched into the death and alleged scam which involved a man in the east of the country earlier this year.

Stock picture
Stock picture

In an exclusive interview the woman - who has asked not to be named to protect her children - called on gardai to track down the scammers who she claims extorted €1,000 from her husband before his suicide.

She has also pleaded with others to be careful online, after a graphic video of the man was posted on the Facebook social network.

“It’s absolutely horrendous. My kids are devastated,” she told Independent.ie. “It is all the questions, they just can’t understand how he was there one day and he wasn’t there the next.

“I haven’t told them the exact extent of what happened because I don’t want them to know that.”

(Stock image PA)
(Stock image PA)

Speaking anonymously the mother explained that she and her husband did not live together at the time. She explained that he suffered from depression and anxiety over the last number of years but was still an "excellent father".

She was at work a number of weeks ago when she received a call from a friend to say that a video of her husband performing a sex act had appeared on Facebook.

“It was a foreign lady that had put up a video of him. She had tagged it to several people, several of his friends and his family. And the heading she had on the video was: ‘This man does this to seven-year-old children’. It was a video of him on his own.”

She explained: “I knew there was no way he would be able for that. He was such a private man.”

The concerned mum frantically tried to phone and text the her husband, who was in his 40s, but received no reply.

Eventually she travelled to his home and with a friend they managed to gain entry where they discovered that he had killed himself.

Over the following days the woman began to examine her husband's bank statements and discovered he was withdrawing relatively-large sums of cash.

She said: "In the weeks leading up to it he was broke. He worked full time but all of a sudden he had no money,” she said. “Where it went to, I just don’t know.”

In total there was €1,000 unaccounted for and the woman believes this was handed over to the scammers.

The man’s phone has been passed on to the Garda Computer Crime Investigation Unit (CCIU) and officers are due to interview the woman in the coming days.

She explained that her husband received the phone for Christmas and had only started using the social media network in the last number of months.

“Before that he wouldn’t have had a clue. My oldest daughter had to show him how to use it.

She continued: “For me it’s killing me to think that he did suffer. Because he tried to hide that from us for so long. The weekend that he did it, he withdrew €300 out of the bank account but yet had to borrow €10.

“He was an absolutely fantastic father, our children never wanted for anything. He had depression but I know in my heart and soul he would never ever have done that if it wasn’t for that video.

“He would be horrified to think people would see that video of him, or even that caption.”

Last June the family of 17-year-old schoolboy Ronan Hughes revealed that he took his own life after he was subjected to a similar blackmail plot.

In January the Irish Independent reported how a gang attempted to extort €10,000 from a young Cork man after an Eastern European woman sent him a video of him viewing her naked and performing sex acts on camera.

The wife of this latest victim has pleaded with others to be careful with video and social media.

“Don’t be so naive to think that this isn’t going anywhere. If you don’t know somebody then don’t add them as a friend. It’s dangerous and people don’t seem to know.”

Read more: Ronan Hughes: Teen given 48 hours to pay £3k or private images would be sent to friends

If you need someone to talk to, contact: Samaritans 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org

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