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Man arrested over blackmail linked to death of 17-year-old Ronan Hughes

A 31-year-old man has appeared in court in Romania charged with blackmail linked to the death of 17-year-old Ronan Hughes.

The suspect is charged with producing and distributing indecent images of children and blackmail.

The Coalisland teenager took his own life last year after being targeted and blackmailed online.

The PSNI have been liaising with Romanian police, as well as the National Crime Agency, and Europol.

Detective Superintendent Gary Reid, from the PSNI’s Reactive and Organised Crime Branch, said: “Detectives from the PSNI are currently in Romania assisting our colleagues with this phase of the investigation.

“This has been complex and protracted and we are grateful to our colleagues in our partner agencies for their assistance to date.

“As legal proceedings are now ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.

“However, I would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone in Northern Ireland to be mindful of their online activity, particularly with strangers. If you feel you have been compromised online in anyway, please report it to police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.

“We understand the level of media interest in this development however we are in close contact with the Hughes family and they have asked us to remind all media that they do not wish to be contacted at this time. I would ask you to respect their wishes.”

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