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  1. ITV Report

Romanian who blackmailed tragic teen given four years

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A Romanian man who pleaded guilty to blackmailing Coalisland teenager Ronan Hughes has been sentenced to four years in prison.

Iulian Enache also pleaded guilty to producing or distributing indecent images of a child.

Ronan Hughes was 17 when he died in June 2015 after being blackmailed by Enache.

The 31-year-old appeared in court in Timisoara, Romania where he was handed a custodial sentence.

Under Romanian law, he will only serve three years, which means he will be released with time served in October 2019.

Detective Chief Inspector James Mullen, from PSNI’s Criminal Investigation Branch described it as, "a tragic case".

"First and foremost, in our minds is the family of Ronan Hughes who have lost a son and a brother. We must never forget that," he added.

He paid tribute both to PSNI officers who travelled to Romania as part of the investigation and the Romanian Police, Europol and the National Crime Agency who collaborated in solving the case.

“A four-year prison sentence is no compensation for the loss of Ronan Hughes - a young man who had his whole life ahead of him – however, there can be no doubt that the sentence means others will be spared the pain and loss experienced by the Hughes family at the hands of Enache," said DCI Mullen.

“We all deserve to be able to use the internet to learn, explore and connect with each other, but all of us need to be aware of the risks involved in doing so, especially on social media. If you feel you have been compromised online in anyway, please report it to police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.”

Detective Chief Superintendent Tim Mairs has produced a video for the PSNI in which he gives advice on how to stay safe online.

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For more information about web safety, visit www.getsafeonline.org