17-year-old Ronan Hughes took his own life in June 2015
A man has been sentenced to three years in prison over the webcam blackmail of a Tyrone teenager who took his own life.
Appearing in court in Timisoara, Romania last week, 31-year-old Iulian Enache pleaded guilty to blackmailing 17-year-old Ronan Hughes from Coalisland and producing/distributing indecent images of a child.
The Romanian national was sentenced to four years in prison today – however under Romanian law he will only serve three and is due to be released on October 29th next year.
He first appeared in court in connection with the blackmail in October 2016.
Ronan Hughes parents revealed that he had taken his own life in June 2015 after being duped into posting images on the internet.
It is believed he faced a demand to pay £3,000 (€3,230) to prevent the images being shared with his family and friends.
Following the sentencing today, PSNI Detective Chief Inspector James Mullen said: “This has been a tragic case and first and foremost in our minds is the family of Ronan Hughes who have lost a son and a brother.
"We must never forget that.”
“I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the Hughes family for the dignity they have shown since their devastating loss, and for their co-operation and patience with our investigation,” he said.
He said the “complex and protracted investigation” involved a huge effort by officers from the PSNI, Europol and the Romanian police over the course of two years.
“A four-year prison sentence is no compensation for the loss of Ronan Hughes - a young man who had his whole life ahead of him,” he said.
“However, there can be no doubt that the sentence means others will be spared the pain and loss experienced by the Hughes family at the hands of Enache.
He called on parents and guardians to do all they can keep their children safe online.
“We are all aware of the part social media plays in today’s society, therefore, it is incumbent on everyone to do what they can to stop offenders like Enache,” he said.
“I would also urge anyone who has experienced anything of a similar nature, or has received any inappropriate images or links, to contact Police or tell a trusted adult.
“You will not get into trouble.
“This tragic case highlights that police will do all they can to pursue these online criminals who are preying on our communities.”
General advice on protecting yourself online is available here: