Manuel Heyden: Toronto man charged with child abuse in ‘sordid and sickening’ case

Image copyright PA Image caption Neighbours said Heyden had an incredibly short fuse, was paranoid and often had bruises on his hands

A Toronto hairdresser accused of abusing children as young as six in a “sordid and sickening” abuse scandal has been charged with a number of other offences.

Manuel Heyden, 45, a mother of two, was initially charged with five counts of sexual assault and one count of administering a noxious substance.

Now police say additional charges have been laid.

They include four counts of making, possessing and distributing child pornography and two counts of attempted murder.

Lawyer David Schulman told the court that his client was making a full disclosure.

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A 30-year-old man was also arrested and charged in the ongoing investigation into the alleged abuse.

Child rape probe beefed up

Police said evidence found in the men’s homes suggest the abuse happened several years ago and that the victims have been located, interviewed and have been provided with counselling.

They said that anyone who has been victims of child sexual abuse can contact the police on 855-490-6244 or tip [email protected].

Investigators say they are still looking for any other possible victims.

A former neighbour said Heyden had an incredibly short fuse and was paranoid and often had bruises on his hands.

“We would talk and laugh and she would let him sit by her to take a shower. So I never saw anything that would cause me alarm.”

She spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear for her safety.

Manuel Heyden (centre) with his children

Image copyright Toronto Police Image caption Heyden was charged on 18 December after police say they found disturbing images of children online

When police searched Heyden’s home in west Toronto, he was said to be “seriously ill, confined to bed” with “numerous cuts and bruises”.

The Canadian Press news agency reported that many of the images they found were child pornography and that Heyden had suggested using drugs to initiate sex with young girls.

When questioned about child pornography he told investigators it was simply “friends at work”.

After turning himself in to the police on 18 December, Heyden’s lawyer said he would be pleading not guilty to all of the charges against him, according to CBC News.

Heyden appeared in court on Thursday morning and said he wanted to resume working as a hairdresser, which is why she had no additional charges against him.

The judge replied: “It’s a very good argument. I’ll let you do what you want.”

Speaking after the case he said Heyden had wanted to make sure “that this process plays out properly”.

Heyden was then released from custody on 10 December.

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