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.

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