Amanda Todd: Dutch court cuts jail term for fatal cyber-stalking

A Dutchman given 13 years for sexually blackmailing a Canadian girl who went on to take her life has had his sentence more than halved.

Aydin Coban was found guilty by a Canadian court in 2022 of child-luring and criminally harassing Amanda Todd.

Amanda died aged 15, weeks after posting a video detailing how he had tormented her online for years.

Coban was sent back to the Netherlands to serve his term, and a court in Amsterdam has now cut his sentence.

In its judgement, the court explained that to meet Dutch judicial standards it had commuted the Canadian term to six years.

Coban began targeting Amanda Todd on social media in November 2009, when she was 13, using fake accounts to lure her into performing for him on a webcam.

If she did not agree to continue, he blackmailed her with threats to send explicit images of her to her friends and family.

His cyberstalking continued until February 2012.

Amanda’s nine-minute video, posted the same year on YouTube, was viewed millions of times and she died five weeks later on 10 October. Explicit photos of her had also been leaked online.

Her video prompted a debate in Canada surrounding online bullying.

Although he was only sentenced in British Columbia 10 years later, Coban had already been arrested by Dutch authorities in 2014 and jailed in 2017 for 10 years and eight months.

He was found guilty of blackmailing and harassing dozens of young women and several men on the internet, in the UK, US as well as in Canada.

His cyberstalking of Amanda Todd was not part of the Dutch trial as Canadian prosecutors brought a separate case, with the condition that he was returned to the Netherlands to serve out his term afterwards.

Canadian prosecutors did not charge him over her death but the judge concluded that the “profound harm” he caused had led to mental health issues and depression.

In her ruling, the judge said Coban had sent her 700 online messages. He had not just made persistent threats but had “distributed child pornographic materials depicting Amanda to members of Amanda’s community, including her friends, peers, family, and school staff”.

After he was given 13 years by the court in British Columbia, he was returned to the Netherlands and the court in Amsterdam was given the task of converting the sentence to Dutch standards.

Prosecutors had asked for a further four and a half years while Coban’s lawyer said it should be a maximum of six months. The six-year term announced on Thursday was higher than prosecutors had asked for and can still be appealed.

Amanda Todd’s mother, Carol Todd, told Canada’s public broadcaster the CBC that she wanted to see Coban serve the full Canadian sentence but had accepted it would be shortened to match the Dutch legal system.

“I’m feeling quite comfortable with the six-year sentence today because there was a chance the sentencing, conversion sentencing, could have been zero,” Ms Todd said.

There will never be full justice for her daughter’s death, she also said, but she hopes that her story has raised awareness about cyberbullying.

“This is what is needed to prevent another story (like this) from happening,” Ms Todd said.

Source: BBC

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