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South Armagh student involved in ‘biggest catfish case in UK history’ facing 386 new charges

A south Armagh student appeared in court to face more than 300 new charges in relation to the biggest catfish investigation in UK history.

Alexander McCartney, 21, of Lissummon Road appeared at Newry Magistrates’ Court on Friday – via videolink from Maghaberry – to face a total of 386 new charges, many of which involved children under the age of 13.

They include: inciting a child into sexual activity including penetration; making, distribution and possession of indecent photographs of a child; blackmail and encouraging sexual activity with an animal.

McCartney has previously been charged with four counts of possessing indecent photographs, three counts of making indecent photographs, four counts of distributing indecent photographs of children,  four counts of sexual communication with a child, four counts of inciting a child to engage in a sexual activity, four counts of intimidation and possession of Class B.

These latest charges were added following police questioning earlier this week.

In a case previously described as “the biggest case [of its kind] in UK history” the prosecution had stated there “are a significant number of new victims”.

The final year University of Ulster student has been in custody ever since his arrest in July.

He was remanded into custody in Maghaberry to appear back in Newry on January 15.

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