Cash, hard drive, passport hidden in home of Amanda Todd extortion suspect: officer

Cash, hard drive, passport hidden in home of Amanda Todd extortion suspect: officer

NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C. — A Dutch police officer has described finding cash, a passport and a hard drive hidden inside a stereo in the home of the man accused of extorting British Columbia teenager Amanda Todd.

Erik Verstraten told the B.C. Supreme Court trial for Aydin Coban that he found 10,000 euros in cash and a passport belonging to the man during the search of the home near the Dutch city of Tilburg, in January 2014.

Coban has pleaded not guilty to charges of extortion, harassment, communication with a young person to commit a sexual offence and possessing child pornography.

Verstraten told the jury trial he found the items after opening a box for a stereo system and noticed the speakers were still wrapped in plastic, while the stereo itself was not, which he thought was strange.

He says he took the stereo apart and found the items in a box wrapped with tape.

At the start of the trial last week, Crown prosecutor Louise Kenworthy told the court that Todd had been the victim of a persistent campaign of online “sextortion” from November 2009 to February 2012, before her death at age 15 in October that year.

She said one person had used more than 20 usernames to contact the Port Coquitlam teen, threatening to send her friends and family photos that showed her exposing her breasts unless she performed sexual acts in front of a web camera.

Kenworthy said the Crown expected to present evidence to show that the accounts were operated by Coban, and to call witnesses including an RCMP officer who examined the contents of computers and hard drives seized from Coban’s home.

During Verstraten’s testimony on Tuesday, the jury saw photos taken inside the bungalow showing a kitchen counter cluttered with unwashed dishes and bedrooms with boxes and clothing strewn around. Several photos showed an acoustic guitar lying under a bed with a pouch containing more cash inside.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 14, 2022.

The Canadian PressThe Canadian Press

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