Paedophile’s blackmail claim ‘just an IT invoice’
A SOUTH African IT guru has denied blackmailing a convicted Adelaide paedophile, saying his supposed demand for cash was merely an invoice for work he had performed.
Leon Heydenrych, pictured, appeared in the Adelaide Magistrates Court yesterday following his arrest at Sydney Airport last week.
The software designer was taken into custody on a 2016 warrant, accusing him of ex- torting more than $22,000 from former teacher and sex offender Kym Peckham.
However, lawyer Mark Williams, for Heydenrych, said no crime had been committed and his client was instead caught up in a bitter commercial dispute.
“My client was working for Peckham’s company, became concerned about payment and took it upon himself to do research, discovering the history of sex abuse,” he said.
“Concerned that would affect his own personal reputation, he contacted the company, rescinded his association and issued an invoice for services rendered. He was paid $22,120.58, which is an unusual payment for a blackmailer and a far more likely amount for an invoice.”
Heydenrych, 50, of Pretoria, has yet to plead to one count of blackmailing Peckham and his company – edu- cational software Obvious Choice.
Prosecutors allege that, between 2014 and 2015, he sent the company emails threatening to publish details of Peckham’s criminal history unless he was paid money.
Peckham, 54, served a 4 ½ year non-parole period for sexually abusing two students of Trinity College, at Gawler, in the 1980s.
Yesterday, the court heard Peckham’s solicitor had asked for time to seek suppression of his client’s identity. provider
The solicitor did not make it to court, however.
Mr Williams asked his client be released on bail, saying he posed no flight risk.
“He is a dual citizen … he only returned to South Africa to care for his elderly mother,” he said.
“He denies making any threat (to Peckham) and the information about his criminal history was publicly known.”
Magistrate Cathy Deland said the case was “unusual” and released Heydenrych on $2000 bail until August.