Tuesday 12 December 2017

Man charged in connection with webcam blackmail linked to death of Irish teen

Ronan Hughes
Ronan Hughes

Michael McHugh

Police investigating webcam blackmail linked to the death of a Northern Irish teenager have charged a man in Romania.

The suspect, aged 31, appeared at Bucharest Municipal Court accused of producing and distributing indecent images of children and blackmail, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said.

Ronan Hughes, 17, from from Clonoe near Coalisland in Co Tyrone, died in June 2015. His parents said he had taken his own life.

The accused was remanded in custody.

PSNI detectives have been liaising with a number of agencies in a variety of jurisdictions, including Policia Romana (Romanian Police), the Directorate for Investigating Organised Crime and Terrorism in Romania, the National Crime Agency, and Europol, as part of the investigation.

Detective Superintendent Gary Reid, from the PSNI's Reactive and Organised Crime Branch, said: "Detectives from the PSNI are currently in Romania assisting our colleagues with this phase of the investigation.

"This has been complex and protracted and we are grateful to our colleagues in our partner agencies for their assistance to date.

"As legal proceedings are now ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.

"However, I would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone in Northern Ireland to be mindful of their online activity, particularly with strangers. If you feel you have been compromised online in anyway, please report it to police on 101 or 999 in an emergency."

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