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Catfish predator who targeted Kiwi girl in global web case pleads guilty to manslaughter

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 12 Mar 2024, 1:55PM
Alexander McCartney from Northern Ireland has admitted a charge of manslaughter. Photo / Supplied
Alexander McCartney from Northern Ireland has admitted a charge of manslaughter. Photo / Supplied

Catfish predator who targeted Kiwi girl in global web case pleads guilty to manslaughter

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 12 Mar 2024, 1:55PM

Warning: This story discusses suicide and sexual abuse

A Northern Irish man at the centre of a global web of catfishing, blackmail and sexual abuse has pleaded guilty to manslaughter after one of his victims committed suicide.

Predator Alexander McCartney admitted to over 180 charges in a Belfast court, including admitting to manslaughter after a 12-year-old girl took her own life in 2018 following an online blackmail campaign, the BBC reports.

Details of 25-year-old McCartney’s guilty pleas were not previously reported due to court restrictions that were lifted this week.

The charges involve more than 60 child victims between 2013 and 2019 and include a girl from Hawke’s Bay.

The manslaughter charge does not relate to the New Zealand victim.

Justice O’Hara told the Belfast Crown Court that it would be a “very complex sentencing exercise” and called for a “a comprehensive list of all the offences compiled person-by-person”.

McCartney first appeared in late July 2019 and has since been on remand in a Northern Irish prison.

McCartney’s vile abuse was discovered after a 2018 report to police in Scotland that a girl was being blackmailed on social media platform Snapchat.

A police probe tracked the blackmail threats to McCartney and a subsequent search of his home found thousands of images of young girls in “various states of dress and undress, performing various sexual acts”.

A lawyer for the prosecution at an earlier appearance said McCartney’s modus operandi was to “blackmail young victims into abuse” by threatening to post photos online before trying to get their younger siblings or cousins involved, BBC News reported.

Susie Hargreaves, chief executive of the UK’s Internet Watch Foundation, told the Metro newspaper: “The online coercion and abuse of children costs lives.

“Children who are blackmailed by these selfish, cowardly abusers are dying, and it is real.

“These children’s lives are torn apart by the cruelty of abusers who extort them for their own vile purposes.”

SEXUAL HARM

Where to get help:

If it's an emergency and you feel that you or someone else is at risk, call 111.
If you've ever experienced sexual assault or abuse and need to talk to someone, contact Safe to Talk confidentially, any time 24/7:
• Call 0800 044 334
• Text 4334
• Email [email protected]
• For more info or to web chat visit safetotalk.nz
Alternatively contact your local police station - click here for a list.

If you have been sexually assaulted, remember it's not your fault.

MALE SEXUAL ABUSE SURVIVORS

Where to get help:

If it's an emergency and you feel that you or someone else is at risk, call 111.
• If you've ever experienced sexual assault or abuse and need to talk to someone call the confidential crisis helpline Safe to Talk on 0800 044 334 or text 4334. (available 24/7)
• Male Survivors Aotearoa offers a range of confidential support at centres across New Zealand - find your closest one here.
• Men and Trauma New Zealand: 0800 636 263
• Alternatively contact your local police station - click here for a list.
If you have been abused, remember it's not your fault.

SUICIDE AND DEPRESSION

Where to get help:
• Lifeline: Call 0800 543 354 or text 4357 (HELP) (available 24/7)
• Suicide Crisis Helpline: Call 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• Youth services: (06) 3555 906
• Youthline: Call 0800 376 633 or text 234
• What's Up: Call 0800 942 8787 (11am to 11pm) or webchat (11am to 10.30pm)
• Depression helpline: Call 0800 111 757 or text 4202 (available 24/7)
• Helpline: Need to talk? Call or text 1737
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.

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