The parents and brother of the late Amanda Todd told a court this afternoon (Oct. 11) how her sextortion and suicide continues to cause pain.
The 15-year-old student of the Coquitlam Alternate Basic Education (CABE) school died a decade ago yesterday (Oct. 10) after she was cyberbullied by Dutch citizen Aydin Coban. He was convicted by a jury on five counts in August.
Coban, 44, had no reaction while the Todd family read out their victim impact statements before Justice Martha Devlin at BC Supreme Court.
And he scrolled legal documents on a laptop as Crown Counsel screened a video that Amanda Todd created just five weeks before she took her life.
That video, shown in court in colour but no music, went viral after she died.
Her father, Norm, wept as he spoke of Amanda. “It’s hard to put into words how it feels to lose a child,” he said at the New Westminster Law Courts.
Norm Todd talked about how he’s been unable to mourn with the international spotlight on his daughter’s sudden death 10 years ago.
It has been, he said, “the most painful, devastating loss of my entire life.”
Carol Todd also spoke about the impact, saying she wasn’t able to return to work for nine years, has been diagnosed with PTSD and seeks counselling.
She read aloud a statement from her son, Christopher, who wrote about the loss of his only sibling and how he will never be an uncle to her children.
Had she not died, Amanda would have been 25 years old today, he said.
“I miss her more than words can explain.... It changed the course of my life. I’m not the same person. It has changed me,” Carol read for Christopher.
With Amanda’s framed school photo on the stand, Carol Todd talked about the deterioration of her daughter’s mental health as a result of Coban.
She refused to go out in the public for fear of being shamed by her peers.
She was forced to move schools in the Tri-Cities, Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge because he followed her and befriended students at her new schools.
And, with each new message from an alias that threatened to expose images or video of her in explicit scenes, Amanda went into a darker hole.
As a result of her spiral and suicide, Carol said she was never be able to see her daughter have her sweet 16 (she died a month before her birthday); see her get her driver’s licence; get her first job; and become a woman.
“I will missing being a grandmother to her children,” Carol told the judge.
Family celebrations now are tinged with grief, Carol said; however, milestones about Coban are remembered: his arrest on Jan. 13, 2014, in the Netherlands; his extradition to Canada; and the nine-week trial.
“This has become my horrible new normal,” she said, adding she has been the subject of internet trolls who have accused her of being a “bad mom.”
Crown Counsel Louise Kenworthy told the court that although Coban didn’t kill Amanda Todd, his cyberbullying “affected everything aspect of her life.”
Coban used 22 fake aliases on social media platforms to lure, extort and criminally harass Amanda Todd; he also sent her, her friends, her relatives and school officials more than 700 messages between 2009 and 2011.
“He ruined her life,” she said. “It was the dominate cause of her suicide.”
Kenworthy also addressed the court about Coban’s background: He is currently serving a 10-year, 243-day sentence in the Netherlands for 68 similar convictions involving 33 girls — some as young as nine years old.
In messages with several of his victims, he taunted them to kill themselves.
With his arrest in January 2014, Coban is due to be out in September 2023.
Following the Canadian sentencing, a Dutch court will arrange a hearing for his Canadian convictions to be served in the Netherlands, Kenworthy said.
The sentencing hearing for Coban is scheduled for four days, until Friday (Oct. 14).