Amanda Todd trial: Witness describes renting Dutch bungalow to accused

The trial of 44-year-old Aydin Coban, who is accused of harassing B.C. teenager Amanda Todd online before she took her own life, focused Thursday on the identity of the man who rented a holiday house in the Netherlands. Rumina Daya reports.

This story contains details that may disturb readers. Discretion is advised. 

The trial of a Dutch man accused of harassing and extorting B.C. teen Amanda Todd before her death continued to focus on the question of identity on Thursday.

Aydin Coban, 44, has pleaded not guilty to five charges including possession of child pornography, communication with a young person to commit a sexual offence, and criminal harassment.

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The court has heard Coban was arrested in a bungalow in Oisterwijk, about 100 km southeast of Amsterdam, where police seized numerous computers and hard drives, a Wi-Fi antenna and webcam.

On Thursday, the court heard testimony from Dennis Wassenberg whose family owns the De Rosep bungalow park where Coban was arrested.

Wassenberg was shown a photo of Coban taken by police after his arrest, and identified it as being the occupant of Bungalow 55.

He told the court he had rented the same cabin to the same man on at least two occasions.

The man in the photo was the only person who had rented the bungalow immediately prior to the arrest, he testified.

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The court heard that Wassenberg lived three doors down from the bungalow Coban had rented, and that the two had interacted on a nearly-daily basis, chatting or waving to one another.

During cross examination, defence sought to raise doubts about whether Coban was the only one with access to the unit.

Under questioning from Coban’s lawyer, Wassenberg agreed that there were trees and bushes around the cabin, with enough vegetation that you could not see the bungalow from the street.

The bungalow park’s gate was always open and a person would not require a pass to gain access, he agreed.

But when asked if he had ever discovered more than one person living in a unit when just one person had rented it, Wassenberg said “quite rarely,” adding that such a situation would have been noticed quickly.

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The case hinges on the question of the identity of Amanda Todd’s tormentor.

Crown is seeking to prove Coban was the person who used 22 online social media accounts to stalk and sexually blackmail her between 2009 and 2012.

Crown alleges Coban obtained video of the teen flashing her breasts, then used it to try and extort her into performing pornographic web shows. It also alleges he sent the video to friends, family and schoolmates.

Defence maintains there is no link between Coban and the online extortionist, and that Crown needs to prove beyond a reasonable doubt who actually sent the messages Todd received.

Todd took her own life in 2012 at the age of 15.

Not long before her death, she posted a video to YouTube chronicling her ordeal, which gained worldwide attention and became a rallying cry against cyberbullying.

In the video, Todd silently held up a series of flashcards describing the torment she endured.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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