Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

‘Significant number’ of new victims in Newry student ‘catfish’ case

The case of a Newry student at the centre of what has been described as the UK’s biggest ‘catfish’ investigation has uncovered a raft of new victims.

On Wednesday last, Alexander McCartney (21) of Lissummon Road, appeared via at Newry Magistrates’ Court via videolink from Maghaberry where the court heard that “a significant number of new victims” have come forward as a result of police interviews conducted before Christmas.

McCartney is accused of a litany of offences including making and selling indecent images of children.  He has been held on remand since initial charges in July of last year when he was charged with four counts of possessing indecent photographs, three counts of making indecent photographs, four counts of distributing indecent photographs of children, four counts of sexual communication with a child, four counts of inciting a child to engage in a sexual activity, four counts of intimidation and possession of Class B.

Following further police questioning last month, a total of 386 new charges were added, many of which involved children under the age of 13.

Prosecution has described the case as a “complex and large investigation with an international element”.

Following Wednesday’s hearing, the case was adjourned until February 12th.