Ten years ago, 15-year-old Amanda Todd committed suicide after years of being harassed and bullied by a cyber stalker. Now the man has been convicted in Canada
The video went around the world. Mutely, with only written index cards in hand, Amanda Todd had shared her ordeal with the public via YouTube. Nine minutes long, note by note. “I have no one,” it said. And: “I need help.” It was her last cry before she took her own life a few days later.
Ten years have passed since the then 15-year-old put her call for help online and became the most well-known face of victims of cyberbullying. Now Amanda Todd is getting late justice. On Saturday, a Canadian jury convicted the online stalker who made the girl’s life miserable.
The jury’s verdict was unanimous, unequivocal and came after only a few hours of deliberation: At the end of the seven-week trial, the jury found it proven that Dutchman Aydin C. seduced, blackmailed, criminally molested and molested the girl online between 2010 and 2012 had collected and passed on pornographic material from her. The penalty will be determined later.
The defendant received the verdict in the New Westminster courtroom without any apparent emotion. During the trial, he pleaded not guilty, but never spoke out. The defense had not summoned any witnesses of its own, merely attempting to raise doubts as to whether their client was the perpetrator. Without success.
On the other hand, the prosecution, with dozens of witnesses and experts from Canada and the Netherlands, traced Todd’s story of suffering again. Through text messages, they revealed how C. first persuaded the Port Coquitlam teen to show her breasts on webcam and then, a year later, embarrassed her in front of family and friends for not being more compliant.
“Did you understand me, you bitch? Ten private shows, then I’ll disappear forever, “C. is said to have threatened the girl, among other things. “I hope she sees this and then kills herself,” a classmate wrote after the nude photos were published.
In court, Todd’s parents had detailed how their daughter was teased and taunted at school, how she received daily abusive emails and how desperately she tried to start over at another school. Then: depression, alcohol addiction, a first attempt at suicide.
Lead prosecutor Louise Kenworthy had presented 22 virtual identities to the jury, which C. had used to pressure and blackmail the girl from a campsite in the Netherlands. The investigators also found traces of files on two of the perpetrator’s hard drives that could be linked to the teenager.
34 other girls molested
For C., the verdict is not the first guilty verdict: in the Netherlands, the 44-year-old was sentenced to ten years and eight months in prison for cyberbullying in 2017. According to the local court, C., in addition to Amanda Todd, blackmailed 34 other girls and five gay men from several countries with photos and urged them to engage in sexual acts in front of the webcam. In December 2020, C. was extradited from the Netherlands to Canada. C’s attorneys want to consider an appeal.
The guilty verdict is a great satisfaction for Todd’s family. In a separate process, the girl’s parents had campaigned for the details of the process to be reported on despite the strict youth protection rules in Canada. They wanted to posthumously give their daughter a voice and warn other young people about the dangers of cyberbullying. In legal circles, the procedure is considered a kind of test case in the fight against online stalking.
Speaking outside the courtroom in New Westminster on Saturday, mother Carol Todd said: “If I could say one message to Amanda today, it would be that we have always believed in her . She’s no longer with us, but maybe she’s watching us somewhere now. This is her moment today.”