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Schoolboy Ronan Hughes a tragic example of how web blackmail can end

Published 10/07/2015

Ronan Hughes was targeted by online criminals
Ronan Hughes was targeted by online criminals

The recent death of Co Tyrone teenager Ronan Hughes after a gang blackmailed him over intimate photographs has highlighted the dangers for young people using social media.

Ronan (17) was the victim of what the police call 'webcam blackmail'. It saw Ronan tricked into sharing intimate images of himself online, after which some were sent to friends when he failed to pay a ransom.

Days later, the schoolboy took his own life.

His parents said a Nigerian gang was blackmailing him, demanding more than £3,000 not to publish the photos. They believe he would still be alive if his case had been treated more urgently by the PSNI.

Police are currently investigating claims that a number of people in Northern Ireland are being targeted in the same way as Ronan. The PSNI has a dedicated cyber crime centre with 21 specialist officers.

Several hundred other officers have also received specialist training in the examination of digital media and internet research.

Belfast Telegraph

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