Catfishing online predator Alexander McCartney pleads guilty to manslaughter, had Kiwi victim | #childpredator | #onlinepredator | #sextrafficing

Alexander McCartney from Northern Ireland has admitted a charge of manslaughter. Photo / Supplied

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.

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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.

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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.”

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