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The father of Port Coquitlam student Amanda Todd took the stand at BC Supreme Court in New Westminster this afternoon (Tuesday), reiterating his ex-wife’s testimony about concerns for their late daughter’s use of social media.
Norman Todd told Madam Justice Martha Devlin and the jury that Amanda had a personal laptop with a camera and a cell phone, and had use of his own computer, while she lived with him in Port Coquitlam and Maple Ridge.
Todd said he knew Amanda posted singing videos on YouTube and was aware she was a regular Facebook user. Her computer and mobile phone were “a big focus for her.”
“She had lots of friends but she would go through a lot of friends quickly” and had trouble at her schools, he told the court on June 7. “Social media was very important to her. I knew she was chatting online a lot.”
At one point, when he took away her technology access, she left his home to her mother Carol Todd’s house in Port Coquitlam.
Still, Amanda also shared disturbing messages with him that she had received. “Somebody was stalking her online, the pedophile,” Todd said, adding the content was about Amanda exposing herself on digital platforms.
Those messages, which were also being shared with her friends and family, were “blackmailing and threatening her. She was scared and kind of panicky.”
Todd said his daughter fielded multiple online messages, which he reported to the RCMP, and he also received two or three messages in his inbox with hyperlinks showing his daughter topless.
During an RCMP visit, police recommended to the parents that they ban Amanda from social media — a move that Todd said was “difficult.”
“It was one of her means of social activity,” he testified.
And Todd said when he did cut her off from technology, “she freaked out.”
Still, his move from Port Coquitlam to Maple Ridge with Amanda allowed her to get away from the bullying at Pitt River Middle School and enrol in a new school, Westview Secondary, as well as get a fresh start — away from “the pedophile,” Todd told the court.
“The number one reason [for the move] was the pedophile,” he told the court.
Aydin Coban, a native of The Netherlands, is on trial for five counts. On Monday (June 6), he pleaded not guilty to:
- importing and distributing child pornography
- possession of child pornography
- communicating with the intent to lure a child
- criminal harassment
None of the allegations is proven in court.
Todd testified that Amanda ran into problems at Westview and Maple Ridge Secondary schools.
She got into a physical fight in February 2012. The next month, she moved back in with her mother, he said.
Const. Ryan Henley, the third Crown witness, told the jury that he was a youth resource officer in Maple Ridge in 2011 and, during that time, he knew Amanda and the files she was associated with.
He cited an incident in 2011 when someone named “Katie Hutchkins” emailed the school administration at Westview Secondary, providing hyperlinks to her online activity and warning staff that it was their due diligence to report her to authorities.
“Clearly, they have failed in parenting, yet again,” the email read, referring to Carol and Norm Todd, and stating hundreds of people had viewed her explicit video online.
“This will ruin her life if it continues," the email warned.
The now-retired constable said he reported the email to the Major Crimes Section at the Ridge–Meadows detachment, and forwarded it to Coquitlam RCMP to investigate.
The trial continues.