News

Man, 31, on Ronan blackmail charge

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

DETECTIVES investigating the webcam blackmail that led to the death of Clonoe boy Ronan Hughes in June 2015, have charged a man in Romania.

The 31-year-old male has appeared at Bucharest Municipal Court, Romania, charged with producing and distributing indecent images of children and blackmail.

Ronan, 17, took his life after being tricked into posting images of himself on social media via a webcam. A pupil at St Joseph's Grammar School in Donaghmore, Ronan's death shocked the community.

The PSNI said it had been liaising with a number of agencies in a variety of jurisdictions, including the Romanian Police, Romania's Directorate for Investigating Organised Crime and Terrorism, the National Crime Agency and Europol.

Speaking shortly after the charge was made public, Detective Superintendent Gary Reid explained that PSNI detectives are currently in Romania assisting the investigation.

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

This charge is a huge success for the PSNI. At the time of Ronan's death they warned that catching anyone would be extremely difficult.

Ronan's parents said that they believed their son had been targeted by a gang based in Nigeria.

The PSNI publicly agreed, but in private their investigation led them to work closely with Police in Romania.

The Priest at St Patrick's Church in Clonoe, Cannon Fee welcomed the charge

"The parish wishes to express its appreciation of this arrest for the webcam blackmail of Ronan Hughes," he said.

"We are happy to hear this news. While it will not bring Ronan back it will help to end this terrible crime in our community, country and our world."

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