Friday 9 December 2016

Probe after father in social media blackmail scam takes his own life

Cahal McMahon and Brian O'Reilly

Published 30/03/2016 | 02:30

Stock Image/Bloomberg
Stock Image/Bloomberg

A mother has claimed her husband took his own life after he was blackmailed using a compromising online video.

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

The woman - who has asked not to be named to protect her children - called on gardaí 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 Facebook.

"It's absolutely horrendous. My kids are devastated," she said. "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."

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 said she was at work 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."

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

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, even though he worked full-time."

"The weekend that he did it, he withdrew €300 out of the bank account but yet had to borrow €10." In total there was €1,000 ­unaccounted for.

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

She explained that her ­husband had only started using social media in recent months.

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

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

She pleaded with others to be careful with video and social media.

"If you don't know somebody then don't add them as a friend. It's dangerous."

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.

And 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.

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

Irish Independent

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