lawsuit/updateIn the case of Gianni de W., a man from Brabant who allegedly blackmailed countless girls via the internet by persuading them to take nude photos of themselves, 37 adult and 93 minor victims have now been identified. Nineteen charges have now been filed against him. The police have yet to contact 35 underage girls.
The Public Prosecution Service announced this on Tuesday in Breda, during a so-called pro-forma hearing in the case. Some of Gianni de W.’s victims were present. They did not see 24-year-old De W.: he was not there. He chose to stay in his cell. This is one of the largest online abuse cases ever in the Netherlands.
De W. also knew five of his victims in daily life. He had such a close relationship with one of them that she saw him as a brother and told him about being bullied and harassed on social media. Meanwhile, it was De W. himself who, under another name, blackmailed the girl.
‘Never should have happened’
De W. did not attend the hearing on Tuesday because he was ‘disturbed by the scope of the investigation and all the media attention’, his lawyer Ronald Drenth said. According to his lawyer, De W. wants to cooperate in an investigation into himself. He has said of the things he has already confessed to that “it should never have happened.” De W. committed some of the cases of which he is suspected, when he was still a minor.
Gianni de W. has been detained since October 11, 2022, but the case only came to light in January during an equally non-substantive session. Then he was there. The public prosecutor then spoke of the ‘largest investigation into online abuse of minors ever in the Netherlands’. The Public Prosecution Service announced today that it needs another three to six months to complete the investigation.
The first declaration came from North Holland
The investigation started with a report from a girl from Noord-Holland who was 14 years old when the extortion started. That girl did her story against this site at the end of January. De W. made contact with her under the name Bryan. He said he was 15 years old. After handing over a first nude photo, he completely grabbed her and she had to send more. The victim from North Holland got into such a situation that she attempted suicide. Finally she managed to muster the strength to press charges. That was more than three years ago now.
De W. made contact with the girls via social media, including Snapchat and Instagram. He started a conversation and offered the girls money to take nude photos and videos. If the girls wanted to stop, he threatened to put the images online. In his computer, the police found 150 folders with different girls’ names. In some folders, the police found thousands of images of the same victim. Gianni de W. used fake names online, such as Bryan.snapx and Bryansnelgeld.
ICT administrator Gianni de W. from Etten-Leur had already been caught in 2014 for internet extortion. At that time, no report was filed. The stop talk at the time could therefore not prevent him from going wrong again, and this time on a much larger scale.
Another famous case
De W.’s case is the largest of its kind in the Netherlands ever, as far as is known. Another very illustrious case from more than ten years ago is that of Aydin C. from Tilburg, who blackmailed 34 young girls and several gay men from home. That case received a lot of international attention because one of his victims, the Canadian teenager Amanda Todd, was under such pressure from C. that she committed suicide. C. was eventually sentenced to ten years in prison and eight months after an appeal at the end of 2018 and was then sentenced to another thirteen years in prison in Canada for extortion and intimidation of Amanda. C. is serving his sentence in the Netherlands.
The next hearing in the Gianni de W. case is Friday, July 7.
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