A ROMANIAN MAN who blackmailed a Tyrone teenager who later killed himself has been sentenced to four years in prison in Romania.
Iulian Enache (31) pleaded guilty last week in court in Romania to blackmailing Ronan Hughes from Coalisland in Tyrone and for producing and distributing indecent images of a child.
He was sentenced to four years in prison. However, under Romanian law he will serve three years, meaning he will be released with time served on 29 October 2019.
Ronan Hughes (17) died in June 2015 after he had been blackmailed by Enache.
He had been tricked into sharing intimate images of himself online.
Hughes took his own life just hours after some pictures were sent to his friends when he did not pay a ransom.
Commenting on Enache’s sentencing, detective chief inspector James Mullen from the PSNI’s Criminal Investigation Branch said the case was a tragic one for the Hughes family.
“I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the Hughes family for the dignity they have shown since their devastating loss, and for their co-operation and patience with our investigation,” he said.
“This has been a complex and protracted investigation over the course of two years, involving a huge effort between PSNI officers who travelled to Romania working closely with our colleagues there, and prosecuting officers in the jurisdiction.
I want to pay special thanks to Romanian Police for their work in this investigation, and to Europol and the National Crime Agency for their help. Undoubtedly, the work and partnership between the PSNI, our Romanian police colleagues and each of the agencies is what led to the conviction and prison sentence for Iulian Enache.
Mullen said that the four-year prison sentence was no compensation for the loss of 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,” he said.
“I also want to take this opportunity to appeal to parents and guardians to do all they can to keep their children safe from the hands of online criminals.
We are all aware of the part social media plays in today’s society, therefore, it is incumbent on everyone to do what they can to stop offenders like Enache.
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