Dutchman accused of Amanda Todd abuse and blackmail goes on trial

A courtroom sketch of the trial. Illustration Jane Wolsak/The Canadian Press
A courtroom sketch of the trial. Illustration Jane Wolsak/The Canadian Press

The Dutchman who allegedly blackmailed Canadian teenager Amanda Todd, driving her to commit suicide at the age of 15, has gone on trial in Canada, nearly 10 years after her death.

Aydin Coban was extradited to Canada to face the charges after a lengthy legal battle in December 2020.

Amanda Todd killed herself in October 2012 after being stalked and blackmailed by Coban over a nude photo he had taken of her. She took her life shortly after posting a video online in which she used flash cards to describe how she sank into depression after being exploited.

Coban, who comes from Tilburg, was arrested later in the Netherlands. He was found to have dozens of aliases and to be blackmailing a number of girls after getting them to send him nude photographs.

In April 2017 he was jailed for nearly 11 years for the online abuse and for blackmailing 34 girls under the age of 18 – a sentence upheld on appeal at the end of 2018. Canada, however, wanted to try Coban for threats, abuse and blackmail through its own judicial system.

Coban, who has always denied any responsibility for the girl’s suicide, has been charged with extortion, criminal harassment, child luring and child pornography relating to her case.

‘I’m overwhelmed because the day is finally here,’ her mother Carol Todd told CBC outside the courthouse on Monday morning. ‘It will be a long seven weeks [of trial hearings] but we’re here to do this for her.’

The agreement with the Canadian authorities at the time would allow him to serve his sentence in the Netherlands.

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