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

Aydin Coban is pictured, in this courtroom sketch, at B.C. Supreme Court, in New Westminster, B.C., on Monday, June 6, 2022.

Aydin Coban has pleaded not guilty to charges of extortion, harassment, and possessing child pornography.

By The Canadian Press

Tue., June 14, 20222 min. read

Article was updated 9 hrs ago

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

Lt. Erik Verstraten told the B.C. Supreme Court jury trial for Aydin Coban that he found 10,000 euros in cash and a passport belonging to the man while searching the bungalow 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, who was working with the child exploitation unit at the time, says he found the items after he opened 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, 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 tucked inside the instrument.

The jury also heard Tuesday from a man who testified that he and Coban were childhood friends in Tilburg.

Adem Gokcinar appeared remotely to testify and spoke through an interpreter, telling the court that the pair had lost touch around 2004 but reconnected in 2011.

He said they would spend time together and he helped Coban move into the bungalow several months before the accused was arrested in January 2014.

Coban was living alone and had a laptop and a desktop computer, he said.

Under cross-examination, Gokcinar agreed that Coban had created pamphlets to advertise that he could fix computers and replace old hard drives.

The witness also agreed that Coban was a neat and tidy person, who didn’t like messy and unclean places, and his home was often tidy when Gokcinar visited.

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

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