The Manchester Evening News has been following the extraordinary case since the beginning.
Here, reporter Beth Abbit reveals how Britain’s worst ever rapist poisoned and attacked scores of men on nights out in the city over a two-and-a-half year period – before being dramatically caught and brought to justice.
Caught in the Act
The teenager wakes up on the bathroom floor, face down with a strange weight on the back of his thighs.
As the mental fog clears, a series of realisations, each more frightening than the last, hit him in rapid succession.
He’s in a stranger’s flat.
His jeans and pants are down.
A naked man is straddling him.
Hours earlier, this man, Reynhard Sinaga, had seemed like a kindly stranger; a small, trendily dressed man offering help to a boy who had lost his friends.
The teenager had been sitting on some steps near Factory nightclub when Sinaga approached.
“You can call your friends from my place”, the stranger had suggested, when the lad told him his predicament.
Now, the teenager has to wrestle free from Sinaga’s grasp.
Many other young men have been in this city centre flat.
Lured back to the one-bed apartment at Montana House by Sinaga’s well practised, twisted ‘Good Samaritan’ routine, and then, after slipping, mysteriously, into a state more like unconsciousness than sleep, waking up disoriented hours later.
But this young man is different.
None of the others have woken up while Sinaga was in the process of raping them.
Watch: CCTV shows Reynhard Sinaga looking for a victim in Manchester city centre
None of the others actually know, the way that he knows, that they have fallen prey to a beast.
And Reynhard Sinaga is not used to his prey fighting back.
As he is thrown to the floor, it’s the predator who screams for help.
“Help, help”, Sinaga shrieks. “Intruder, intruder!”
Sinaga becomes even more desperate when he sees the teenager grab his iPhone in the confusion.
That iPhone charts, in graphic detail, one of the most disturbing episodes in British criminal history; the poisonings and rapes of up to 200 men.
Sinaga bites the teenager on the stomach in the struggle to take it back.
But the lad, like all the others, is strong and athletic.
Physically, Sinaga is no match for him, and he’s left in a pool of blood on the bathroom floor.
“Hello, erm, I’ve just, I was out last night and then erm some guy’s took me to his house that I don’t want to take me to, wouldn’t let me leave his house, and he ended up trying to rape me”, the boy tells the operator, minutes later.
Having run from the apartment in a panic, he is making the 999 call that will trigger an extraordinary investigation – one that will reveal that a rapist has been stalking Manchester’s clubland for years, attacking males aged from 17 to 36 after knocking them out with drugs.
The victims come from all walks of life – university freshers who have been in Manchester a matter of weeks, a man soon to be married, an expectant father – the overwhelming majority of them heterosexual.
“I tried to push him away”, the caller explains, describing how his knuckles hurt. “I’ve got blood on me because I tried to hit him to get away from me.
“He’s trapped me in his house for most of the night.
“I’ve had to, I know it’s violent, but I’ve had to hit him a few time just to, to stop him from attacking me, been on top me”, he tells the operator..
“ I’ve had to”, he goes on. “ I’ve got blood on my hand if you want to see? Cut, I think he might be busted so, if you have to you might have to phone an ambulance ‘cause I’ve, I’ve had to hit him a few times to get him away from me.”
It’s just before 6am, and within minutes, police arrive at the city centre apartment block that is destined to become the centre of a major inquiry.
The teenager points upstairs to Flat 11 where officers find Reynhard Sinaga, an oriental man in his mid-thirties, slumped on the floor between the bathroom and the hallway, slipping in and out of consciousness.
In a scene captured on CCTV, Sinaga is stretchered from his own home; medics fear he has suffered a bleed on the brain.
Meanwhile, the teenager is arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.
But, as he is handcuffed, about to be taken to Longsight police station to be interviewed, he hands over a white iPhone 4.
This smartphone will prove to be the most vital piece of evidence in the biggest rape investigation Britain has ever seen.
This investigation has now concluded with Reynhard Sinaga, 36, jailed for life, with a minimum of thirty years to serve.
But, back in June 2017, police still have no idea who they are dealing with.
Reynhard Sinaga: Chilling Facebook videos show the rapist nonchalantly lip syncing to music
A badly injured Sinaga is rushed to Manchester Royal Infirmary by ambulance. He isn’t fit to speak to officers until the following day.
When he finally comes around – knowing the truth about his own crimes – the serial rapist asks a nurse a chilling question.
“What happened? Was I raped?”
Sinaga then asks for his mobile phone, and so officers retrieve a black iPhone 6 from under his bed at his flat.
Like the white iPhone 4 already in the hands of the police, handed to them by the teenager they have arrested, the black phone also holds some deeply disturbing secrets.
Indeed, when officers ask Sinaga to provide the PIN for the black iPhone he repeatedly gives the wrong code.
They persist and he finally gives in.
And, when they have access to the device, officers are confronted with a shocking video – a home movie of Sinaga raping the teenager whose fightback has put him in hospital.
At 3.52pm on June 3, 2017, Reynhard Sinaga, a PhD student and churchgoing Christian, is arrested on suspicion of a single count of rape.
He is kept handcuffed to his hospital bed and under police guard until two days later, when he is well enough to be discharged and interviewed by detectives.
In the hours between, police scour his tiny student flat.
Close to his bed they find phones, driving licences, student ID cards, watches and a wallet – all belonging to men he has drugged and raped, clubbers who he had entrapped on their way home from city centre venues like Fifth and Factory.
These ID documents, along with photos and video he has taken while they were out cold, and screengrabs of their Facebook profile images which he has taken afterwards, are the keepsakes of a “trophy rapist”.
“At this time we had him down as potentially offending against six, seven, eight different people. But we certainly didn’t think that we had a serial rapist”, Detective Inspector Zed Ali tells the M.E.N.
He is the senior investigating officer who led a two-year probe into Sinaga’s crimes, known as Operation Island.
‘Evil’, ‘narcissist’ and ‘psychopath’ are the terms Det Insp Ali uses to describe Reynhard Sinaga.
“He is a one off. I’ve never known anything like this. He is, from what I’ve seen, the biggest male serial rapist anywhere ever”, the seasoned detective adds.
Back in June 2017, as detectives continued to search Sinaga’s flat, they seized laptops and hard drives which were all submitted for analysis.
Those devices were found to contain hundreds of hours of footage showing Sinaga raping and sexually assaulting dozens of snoring, immobile people, 70 of whom have not been traced.
These victims are still out there, perhaps with a vague suspicion that something very strange happened one night out in Manchester, perhaps with no idea at all.
Other victims have been found, but there is insufficient evidence to prosecute.
It means the 48 men whom Sinaga has been prosecuted for offences against represent just a fraction of the total.
One video shows a man being raped eight times over the course of 15 hours..
As Greater Manchester Police’s rape specialist, Det Insp Ali has investigated hundreds of serious sexual offences.
But even he admits to being utterly shocked.
“I’ve never come across anyone recording so graphically their offending,” he says. “It’s not just the sheer volume, it’s the method”.
Even more unusual is the fact that none of Sinaga’s victims remember being attacked.
Typically, their memories end after drinking a glass of water, or an alcoholic drink handed to them by Sinaga.
In the series of secret trials that followed, prosecutors would argue that their drinks were spiked with the illicit drug GHB, or its chemical relative GBL, drugs which are which are easily available on the streets of Manchester and online.
Even so, despite the overwhelming evidence he collected against himself by filming so many attacks, he continues to profess his innocence to this day.
Following a painstaking Greater Manchester Police inquiry, Reynhard Sinaga pleaded not guilty to 136 rapes, eight attempted rapes and 14 sexual assaults involving 48 identified men, spanning around two-and-a-half years – between January 2015 and June 2017.
His story is that each agreed to consensual sex and agreed to pretend to be fast asleep, to the extent they can be heard snoring for several hours, with each allowing him to film them throughout, before leaving their driving licences and student ID cards behind by accident.
“They may have regretted it, or were all embarrassed or ashamed, or may want to try and save their relationship.
“There are many other reasons as well why they deny. But when on the night we did it they agreed to it and knew what was happening”, Sinaga told the jury, lying that the complainants had consented to sex, in his fourth and final trial last month.
By that stage he already knew he was spending the rest of his life in prison.
He had already been found guilty of raping dozens of other men in three previous hearings stretching back a year, by the time that final cohort of witnesses gave evidence.
Perhaps by the fourth trial, having refused to give evidence in the second and the third trials, he was determined not to go down without a fight, or merely revelling in the theatre of the court process.
By then, Sinaga’s appearance had altered drastically from the clean-cut look seen on his Facebook page.
He had grown out his hair, perhaps in support of his defence – that having ‘ladyboy’ looks had drawn the complainants to approach him, while he had been out, as he said he was most nights, looking for sex.
“I’m always available for sex.
“First it’s okay to be gay, that’s me.
“And second I enjoy sex”, he told jurors.
“So it makes clear to other sex partner that I’m gay and they get the message straight away.
“I make myself available all the time and obviously look effeminate.
“For some I may look like a ladyboy.
“It seems very popular among some curious men who are looking for a gay experience.”
The jury saw through Sinaga’s lies and convicted him unanimously of all the counts they were faced with, just as the jurors in the three previous hearings had.
The case had to be split up into separate hearings – spanning the course of a year – due to the sheer volume of evidence and the huge number of complainants.
Each was held in Court 7 at Manchester Crown Court under strict reporting restrictions – which can only now be lifted – to ensure a fair trial.
Jurors were not told, until after they had returned verdicts, that they were trying a man who had already been found guilty.
On learning this, in the last trial, a woman juror broke down and wept.
Reynhard Sinaga’s convictions now make him the most prolific rapist in British judicial history – worse even than the notorious ‘black cab rapist’ John Worboys.
And based on the video evidence available, police believe the total number of victims runs to 195.
‘I’ll make you fall in love’
Each of the known victims was unwittingly vulnerable – from drink, sometimes drugs, being new in the city, or struggling with personal problems.
And they were preyed on by a man whose sinister messages to friends gave a chilling insight into his offending.
As his victims lay drugged and unconscious, Sinaga riffled through their wallets to find driving licenses, bank cards and student identity cards so he could look them up on Facebook.
He would take screengrabs and download photographs of his victims as well as taking physical souvenirs.
The M.E.N. can reveal that the day after he drugged and raped one 21-year-old man, Sinaga shared a Facebook image of the victim with a friend.
“There’s always a new one,” the friend responded on WhatsApp.
“F***ing hell darling u get a dif straight every week,” the friend went on.
“Black Magic,” the rapist responds, referencing lyrics to a song by the pop group Little Mix.adding: “Manchester is a magical city”
“City of gay romance. City of gay loooooove”
Another friend wrote : “Black magic yeah! Rey makes drink potion of gay love haha”
To which the first friend responded: “I know. I want the formula”
Sinaga replied, again referencing Little Mix, but with a truly chilling inference considering his use of GHB as a date rape tool: “Take a sip of my secret poison, I’ll make you fall in love”
He later adds: “One drop should be enough”
Despite this, police say friends knew nothing of Sinaga’s true nature.
Det Insp Ali told the M.E.N.: “The picture he would paint is that he had been on a night out and he’s, in his words, ‘pulled’ a straight guy.
“He’d paint it as a story – he’s met someone, he’s had consensual sex, pretty much like a date.
“He’ll even go so far as mentioning their names, sharing their photographs and he’ll discuss their background – whether they had a job, where they lived. And it does seem very plausible.
“Through reading the messages and when we spoke to his friends, they were like ‘blummin hell, you’re really good at this dating game, you’re brilliant at pulling men and pulling straight guys’ – because that’s how he’d phrase it.”
When police revealed Sinaga’s crimes to his friends they were amazed.
“He was well liked and well thought of as well by his friends,” DI Ali says.
“They were all absolutely shocked that he was accused of rape and then convicted of rape.”
He’s a hunter
PhD student Reynhard Sinaga came to Manchester to study from his native Indonesia in 2007.
Here he could live as an openly gay man.
He didn’t have the same freedom in the country of his birth, where he was born in the city of Jambi, on the east coast of Sumatra, and raised as a Catholic by a conservative, comfortably-off family.
It’s understood his mother and father – a banker in Indonesia – funded his lifestyle in the UK, which involved enrolling on university courses as a way of avoiding going back to the southeast Asian country and its more rigid social mores.
First Sinaga studied Sociology at the University of Manchester, before embarking on a PhD in Human Geography at the University of Leeds, while still living in Manchester.
He was welcomed by other students, housemates, and became an active member of an Anglican church.
No-one had the least inkling of his depraved compulsions.
It was while he was living in city centre student accommodation at Montana House, close to the Gay Village, that Sinaga began his campaign of rape.
His method was always the same.
Looking out of the window from his apartment he had a bird’s eye view of the people below on Princess Street.
Revellers pouring out of nightclubs to flag down taxis and buses, walking to nearby takeaways, bus stops and taxi queues, or lingering by venues, chatting to friends and strangers.
Into this familiar, early hours scene, Sinaga would pounce.
The Factory nightclub, where many of the victims had spent the night before stumbling into the rapist’s orbit, was directly opposite his flat.
On one occasion Sinaga only had to walk out of his block before bumping into a young man who he convinced to join him upstairs.
This clubber left Factory just after 3am.
CCTV captured Sinaga emerging from the front door of his apartment block one minute later.
It took 40 seconds for Sinaga to lure him upstairs.
“I bet he couldn’t believe his luck,” prosecutor Iain Simkin said during the sex attacker’s third trial.
“He walks out of his front door and there was a ready victim.
“He goes looking for them.
“He’s hunting a victim.
“That’s what he does.”
‘I thought stuff like this didn’t happen’.
The men attacked by Reynhard Sinaga were all different – but similar – in that they were all masculine, athletic, attractive young men.
Many were studying at university, some freshers starting a new life in Manchester, away from home for the first time.
The youngest was just 17-years-old, the oldest 36.
All but two of these men identify as heterosexual. One told a court he was ‘bi-curious’.
Regardless of sexuality, every single one said they would have had absolutely no interest in any sexual activity with Sinaga.
And all but one were completely oblivious to the fact that they had been sexually abused until police told them.
They have no memory of any sexual activity taking place.
Rather, they woke up at Sinaga’s flat, dishevelled, hungover, and confused about why they were there.
Many were embarrassed at having passed out in a stranger’s flat.
Some had been sick, or had wet themselves.
And they were keen to get out of the strange apartment and forget about their odd, often confusing, experience.
Most believed that Sinaga had acted as a Good Samaritan, helping them when they were intoxicated and offering them a floor to sleep on for the night.
And though a few suspected that they might have been attacked, they dismissed the notion as ‘silly’ because Sinaga seemed so benign.
What the witnesses say
One man’’s account sums up how Sinaga exploited people’s unknowing vulnerability after they had been out partying.
“I knew there were still people on the streets so it was pretty safe to walk home on my own,” one student told court, describing how he was ‘really drunk’ when he walked out of Fifth nightclub and into Sinaga’s sights.
The young man started to feel sick and stopped at the Oxford Street ‘padlock’ bridge to steady himself.
He felt a tap on his shoulder, and turned around to see Sinaga, who asked if he was OK.
“Just really drunk”, the student replied.
Sinaga insisted that he came up to his flat, saying it was just ‘30 seconds away’.
“You’re too drunk, I live here, just come to mine, it’s fine”, he said.
The student’s home was very close.
But as he put it: “In my eyes (Sinaga) was a young student, in the same position as I am, helping me out.”
Once inside his flat, Sinaga ushered the lad towards a ‘comfy-looking’ pile of cushions and blankets on the floor and offered him what he thought was a glass of water.
He drank it and fell asleep.
He woke up to see Sinaga reading in bed.
He felt reassured.
“I felt more at ease that he was sitting on the bed maybe looking over me to make sure I’m not sick in my sleep,’’ the witness later recalled..
The next day he woke at 10am, embarrassed because his trousers were wet, and left the flat with no idea of the horrors he had been subjected to over the course of several hours.
“It’s stupid,” he said, when asked why he had gone back to the flat, despite living nearby, by Richard Littler QC, Sinaga’s defence barrister.
“In the moment my head’s spinning, I’m feeling sick, I think someone offers you something trying to help you,’’ the young man said.
“I think logic just goes out of your mind.
“In hindsight, I think I was stupid and I made it really easy.
“Like you say, four minutes to get home.
“I should have just done that.”
In that moving testimony he seemed to blame himself for the fact Sinaga so horrifically abused his trust.
So many others were lulled into a false sense of security by the smiling stranger.
“I was happy to go back to his place for a few drinks – never, ever did I think he had this evil plot to abuse me that night,”another victim said.
“I thought briefly he might have done something but I thought stuff like that doesn’t happen”, another man would say.
‘I completely freaked out’
Putting suspicion to the back of the mind was something a number of men who encountered Reynhard Sinaga would describe doing.
One student had been waiting for his girlfriend when Sinaga suggested he come back to his flat for a drink and wait for his girlfriend there.
“Initially I said ‘no, no, it’s fine’ and then he said ‘it’s fine just come and wait’, and I agreed,’’ the man said.
“I thought he was a student and, at the time in September, Freshers would have been around that time and that’s how you possibly make friends.”
The young man woke up to see Sinaga patting the bed.
“I completely freaked out got up and just ran out the door,” he would later testify.
His last memory, before passing out, had been of being given a tasteless, clear drink.
Films taken by Sinaga would prove that this witness had been sexually assaulted three times.
The thought that ‘something might have happened’ had been dismissed from the man’’s mind, until detectives came and found him a year later.
“Because I couldn’t feel anything physically in my body I presumed it hadn’t happened,” he said.
“I thought just ‘try and forget about it’.”
Another witness didn’t even remember meeting Sinaga, and had no memory of how he ended up in his apartment.
The last thing he remembered was parting company with a friend outside the Factory nightclub and going to get the bus.
His story is particularly harrowing.
But his friend recalled a panicked conversation they had, the morning after a night out at Factory, and recalled it to the jury.
“It’s a specific memory”, the friend told court.
“(My friend) said: ‘I have just woken up on some strange Asian man’s floor’.
“He was panicky and confused.
“He said he was completely naked and in a pool of his own vomit.
“He said his clothes were next to him in a pile.”
The man would himself tell jurors how he found himself face down on the floor.
“I felt sick, I felt like I had been drugged and I was trying to piece together how I got there,’’ he said.
“I felt very weak, my pupils were dilated and I didn’t feel like I had only drunk alcohol that night.
“When I woke up I saw a man in the bed 5-10 metres away from where I was.
“He was also naked.”
Fleeing the apartment in panic, the man suspected the worst.
“I suspected that someone had raped me,” he said.
“That has never happened to me before.
“That sort of blacking out and not knowing what had happened.”
“I’m a happily married man and I had a fiancé at the time and I would never have done anything to put that in jeopardy because we planned to get married.”
When his now-wife returned home she found her partner ‘really upset, very teary, very anxious, really scared.
He stayed in bed all day, still apparently affected by the drugs, and suffered “at least two” panic attacks, she said.
The victim’s friend told jurors that the man ‘didn’t want to discuss’ the night after that.
“He wanted to brush it under the carpet and forget it, which is pretty much what happened for two years until the police got in contact with him,” he added.
The levels of amnesia victims suffered were extraordinary – a frightening testament to the power of the drug Sinaga used to subdue them.
Indeed, it was fortunate that none of them were killed by overdosing on ‘G’, which can sent people into a coma.
One man chatted to Sinaga on the gay dating app Grindr before visiting him at his home, and a film captured on Sinaga’s phone shows the two men in bed together.
He has no recollection of any Grindr chat, or sexual activity with Sinaga, and prosecutors cannot say that the acts filmed on the phone weren’t consensual.
But even if they were, he was later rendered unconscious and raped by Sinaga.
The rapist had an all-consuming obsession with abusing sleeping men, but to another victim, an expectant dad, ‘he seemed like the nicest bloke anyone could meet’.
This man was on a night out in Manchester from another city.
He left a bar to buy cigarettes, got lost and ended up wandering the streets looking for his accommodation after his phone battery died.
“I kept on walking around looking for the apartment,” he said in evidence.
“Every time I kept walking around I kept getting to the same point again and again and again.
“I was getting nowhere which is when I gave up and sat down on a building site.
“I was sat there and all of a sudden this bloke turned up and called himself Graham.
“I informed him my phone battery had died and he said he had a charger.
“He said it was at his flat around the corner.
“He seemed like a nice enough bloke.
“He said he was going to help me get charged.
“ At this point I was happy with any help.
“I was stuck.”
He remembers sitting cross legged with Sinaga on the floor of his apartment while his phone charged.
He then blacked out and woke up in a bed.
Sinaga had carried – or dragged him there.
“He seemed like the nicest bloke anyone could meet really.
“I had no reason to even think anything bad of him,” he told a jury.
“I thought it was a bit odd but I thought he had just done a good deed and I’m quite believing in people really.
“He asked for a hug and I gave him a hug.”
The victim even filmed himself leaving the apartment, before telling friends ‘what a nice guy’ he was.
One friend responded to by joking that ‘Graham’ ‘might not be as nice a guy as you think’, adding: “Is your a*** sore?”
Another victim woke up to find Sinaga ‘spooning’ him.
Another recalled being jolted awake by the rapist’s touch.
“The thing that woke me was the sensation of what I thought to be a hand on the small of my back.
“When I opened by eyes it was almost like a sheer kick of adrenaline,” he told jurors.
“I realised I didn’t know where I was.”
One lad even returned to Sinaga’s flat with his girlfriend, not knowing he had been raped the night before.
The couple were trying to piece together the night and understand how he had come to wake up in the flat.
The young man – who was reported missing by his girlfriend when he didn’t return home – took her to Montana House in a bid to find Sinaga.
Incredibly, they did find him and the rapist brazenly lied to them claiming that he had acted as a Good Samaritan.
“We stayed there for about half an hour talking about the occurrences of the weekend,” the victim said during evidence given at Sinaga’s fourth trial.
“He said I had just passed out on the floor and he allowed me to stay at his accommodation. That was it.”
Sinaga even went so far as to befriend the couple on Facebook.
And when they left his apartment, he turned to WhatsApp, where he told friends: “I hv got a surprise visit. Lol
“The girlfriend of the boy from last weekend lol.”
He continues: “She wanted to meet me.
“So they knocked form door to door in my building lol.
“Just to find me. How sweet!”
He then sends pictures of the victim, says he is ‘only 19’ and writes: “His gay boy affair, me, only 16 hahhaahha.”
He later told friends: “They were arguing that night.
“He told her he was at his friend’s.
“I think she was just wanting to prove he was not lying.
“The girl seemed lovely but he is too good for her.”
It was just one encounter which showed how brazen and remorseless Sinaga became.
The youngest complainant was still at sixth-form college when he was attacked by Sinaga.
He had been out with mates at Fifth drinking beers and Jägerbombs to the point where he was ‘mind blank and stumbling’ when he left.
The next thing he remembered was waking up ‘on someone’s floor, boxers wet and panic’.
Incredibly, Sinaga demanded money from the teenager and marched him to cash machine, but his account was empty.
“In my mind he had helped me out because I had urinated on his floor.
“I was paying him because I’d done that,” the teenager said.
“If someone had urinated on my floor maybe I would have asked them for money.”
His friend later recalled his pal telling him how he had woken up on a Chinese man’s floor.
“We just thought it was a good story from a night out,” he said.
On another occasion, Sinaga answered a victim’s phone and told his friend he was asleep.
The friend believed a ‘Chinese girl’ had answered the phone.
As such he believed his pal – who was in fact a victim of rape – had spent the night with a woman.
“His narcissistic sense of entitlement grew as the offending went on”, Ian Rushton, Deputy chief crown prosecutor for the North West, told the M.E.N..
“In terms of scale of offenders we’ve come across there are the mass murderers – the Shipmans and others of that nature.
“But in terms of sexual predatory behaviour this is almost off the scale.”
‘None of them had the least idea’
Sinaga showed not a flicker of remorse as the Judge Suzanne Goddard QC – who presided over all four trials, told him: “Such was your manipulative behaviour that some of the victims felt guilty the next day when they awoke in your flat, for having troubled you, a stranger, with providing them with a floor to sleep on for the night, or for being sick in your flat.
“None of them had the least idea of what had happened to them, such was the effect of the drugs you had given them.”
It was for these reasons that none of Sinaga’s victims sought medical attention.
Perhaps miraculously, none of them tested positive for any sexually transmitted diseases.
Only one was suspicious enough of the circumstances and his memory loss to go to the police, prior to the final offences involving the final victim.
But the DNA recovered from his underpants didn’t match anybody on the system, and the victim believed himself to have been attacked in the Ibis Hotel, and not Montana House.
Sinaga could have got away with his crimes – if it weren’t for his obsession with filming them.
After all, this dossier of evidence – described by prosecuting barrister Iain Simkin as ‘grotesque’ – only came to light in June 2017 and, quite by accident.
Had Sinaga’s final victim not woken and fought off his attacker, the spree could have continued for even longer.
Thankfully he did – and when Sinaga was arrested his DNA matched that recovered from the only other of the victims to go to police, some six weeks earlier.
This case provided the sole piece of medical evidence available to officers.
Following Sinaga’s arrest and during his initial police interview, he made no mention of the defence he would later use in court.
This later claim, that the men had asked him for oral and anal sex, and then agreed to lie ‘completely still throughout, not speaking or making any sounds and had agreed to be filmed in the most intimate ways imaginable’, was dismissed by Judge Goddard QC as ‘ludicrous’.
“You filmed yourself assaulting your victims in great detail,” the judge told the rapist.
“It is ironic that were it not for the films that you took of your evil crimes, it seems that most of these crimes would not have even been discovered let alone prosecuted.”
Despite the overwhelming evidence against him, Sinaga still professes his innocence.
The police investigation that put Reynhard Sinaga away – Operation Island – was a wide-reaching investigation like nothing officers had ever worked on before.
The data they retrieved equated to 3.29 terabytes – the equivalent of filling lorries back-to-back with A4 paper for three miles.
“It’s videos, images, messages, his dissertation, documents, music files and obviously we don’t know what we’re looking for so everything has to be looked at and analysed.
“It’s unprecedented,” Dept Insp Ali says.
Once they thought they had identified men who had been attacked, from the jigsaw of footage and identity documents, specially-trained officers and counsellors had to visit each one.
“Our officers have watched hundreds of hours of videos, they’re very graphic and it’s clear these males are being raped,” Det Insp Ali says.
“Not only are they watching the videos they also have the unfortunate task of knocking on the door and disclosing to someone that they are the victims of rape and because of the effects of drugs they have no memory.
“It’s an absolutely daunting task so officers themselves have had referrals and appointments to occupational health units, appointments with a nurse and a counsellor.”
A drug that can kill
Police never found any evidence of any drugs at Sinaga’s flat.
And the young man who triggered the inquiry by fighting back against Sinaga was not interviewed about the allegation of sexual assault until two days later.
At that point all chance of recovering forensic evidence of drugs was lost.
Despite this, the prosecution were still able to convince jurors that Sinaga had used either gammahydroxybutrate (GHB), or gammabutyrolactone (GBL) to sedate his victims until they fell unconscious.
Members of the jury in all three trials heard evidence from an expert witness who explained the potentially lethal effect of these two almost identical drugs – known collectively as ‘G’.
Dr Simon Elliott explained that G can lead to unconsciousness for several hours, even in minute doses.
The drug can leave users with anterograde amnesia – meaning they are unable to recall the recent past, even though memories prior to an event remain intact.
“It can have a hypnotic and euphoric effect,” Dr Elliott said.
These effects spawned the nicknames ‘liquid ecstasy’, ‘High and Horny’ and ‘Hung, High and Horny’.
“The degree of sedation can vary from a little bit sleepy to complete coma or unconsciousness,” Dr Elliot said.
“Everybody reacts differently to the same dose.
“One gram of GHB can be euphoric.
“Another person could take the same and feel very ill or even vomit.”
“Coma is a common factor of GHB,” he added. “If someone takes too much they can go into an actual coma. It’s as if they are clinically anaesthetised.”
Users will remain in this state until they spontaneously wake up – often seven hours after ingesting the drug.
But high doses can have potentially fatal toxic effects by depressing the central nervous system.
One GMP officer, who investigates the drugs trade, described the difference between the two drugs collectively known as G.
GHB is a ‘clear, sometimes salty liquid, with no smell which can be a powder or a liquid’, while ‘GBL has a strong chemical smell and taste, often mixed with a strong tasting beverage.’
Both have the effect of lowering inhibitions and relaxing the body, ‘making anal sex easier’, the officer said.
Forensic physician Dr Catherine White, of Manchester’s St Mary’s rape centre,told the court that though anal sex can cause injury, muscles are more relaxed during unconsciousness.
Research carried out at the St Mary’s centre found that just over a quarter of complainants had suffered any injury after being anally raped.
As such, it is feasible that Sinaga’s victims would not realise they had been raped and did not necessarily suffer any injury.
Judge Goddard QC, sentencing, summed up the lengths Sinaga went to satisfy his depraved obsessions.
“Such drugs are not without risk of harm,” she told the rapist. “Giving precise doses to men who have drunk alcohol is obviously risky as such drugs have an effect on the levels of consciousness.
“It was a risk you were prepared to ignore to satisfy your perverted desire to have sex with unconscious heterosexual men and film your activities.
“Such drugs in sufficient doses leave the victim with a complete blackout of what has happened, but can also carry a risk ultimately of serious injury or death should anything go wrong.
“At least three of your victims were seen to vomit while they were unconscious on the film clips while you were assaulting them.”
Even his own defence team, in trying to convince the jury the crimes couldn’t have happened, said it was ‘absolutely unbelievable’ that none of the complainants had died.
In addition to the videos, Sinaga took numerous photographs of his victims as they lay unconscious at his mercy.
He has, prosecutors say, a penchant for navels and close up images of belly buttons were discovered on his smartphones.
Evidential footage shows Sinaga kissing and licking victims on their navel, nipples and touching their navel with his fingers while they were unconscious.
Some of these shocking clips last just a few seconds, others are much longer.
The rapist would prop his black iPhone6 up to film himself raping and sexually assaulting the victims.
His white iPhone4 was used to film close ups of his victim’s faces, their navels and much more graphic content.
In one piece of footage shown to the jury, Sinaga is seen to put his hand around his victim’s mouth as he penetrates him.
This action, Mr Simkin says, was intended “to try and keep the noise down”.
“He is protesting in his stupefied state,” he told the jury.
Sinaga can be seen ‘manhandling’ several of his victims, rolling or dragging them or sitting on them so they can’t get away as they snore loudly.
One video demonstrates the level of ‘stupefaction’ experienced by the drugged victims as the complainant’s phone can be heard ringing for over a minute without being answered or switched off.
Another victim – who was raped eight times – was captured on film repeatedly saying ‘no, no, no’ as Sinaga attacks him.
His protestations, though muffled and incoherent, activate the Siri app on his iPhone.
As he shouts out: “No” Siri says: “I’m not sure what you said”.
The voice-activated app later adds: “Sorry [victim’s name] I didn’t get that.”
Another victim remembers waking up momentarily with a light shining in his eyes – likely a side-effect of Sinaga filming him.
This young man told the jury there was a point when ‘all my limbs were numb. I was immobilised.’
Speaking of another victim, the prosecutor said: “He looks dead, doesn’t he?”
In even more disturbing video evidence shown the jury, another victim can be heard vomiting as he is attacked.
Further footage shows Sinaga moving away from a different victim as he starts to wake up.
The rapist dresses himself and turns the film off.
“What better demonstration is there to prove these men were not conscious?” Mr Simkin asked the jury.
“As soon as it became clear to the defendant that this man was waking up, he stopped what he was doing, he clothed himself and turned off the film.”
But it was this video footage that proved to be compelling enough for four separate juries to convict Sinaga, who the judge described as a ‘cold, cunning and calculated rapist’ four times.
As Mr Simkin told the jury in one of his three closing speeches: “It’s the videos, it’s the videos, it’s the videos, it’s the videos, it’s the videos.”
‘It crushed me’
Though the videos proved to be incredibly compelling, it was the moving testimony of his victims that ultimately led to Sinaga’s convictions.
Almost all made the brave decision to turn up to Manchester Crown Court to testify – those who couldn’t, gave evidence over videolink.
One even gave live evidence from a cruise ship in the Caribbean.
For these men, the scars of abuse will be long-lasting.
Several spoke of developing depression and anxiety after finding out that they had been the victims of rape and sexual asault.
Some have chosen not to tell their family or friends and have carried the burden alone.
One young man even attempted suicide on Christmas Day after finding out what had happened to him.
He said that when police told him their suspicions about what had happened ‘it crushed me’.
“How could you be so stupid?” he said, of himself, in a victim impact statement.
“Me leaving the club and ending up in someone’s flat was so out of character.
“I don’t deserve this. It’s the first thing I think about in the morning and the last thing I think of at night.”
Another victim was so tormented by his ordeal he asked doctors to remove his colon.
So disturbing was this case to sit on, the jurors who served will never have been exempted from future jury service and have been offered counselling to help them deal with the hours of stomach-churning evidence they saw.
The need to show jurors the evidence in court meant Sinaga could relive his crimes.
He was, a detective observed, enjoying bringing these videos back into the court process.”
He showed, the judge noted, ‘not a jot of remorse’, giving ‘ no thought to the deep distress and lasting psychological damage’ he caused his young victims.
Still, as he smiled at his solicitor in court, giggling on occasion, casually dressed in knitwear or a plaid shirt, he cut an innocuous figure.
Other times, while on trial, he appeared totally emotionless – carefully studying each piece of evidence, studiously taking notes, flanked in the dock by three officers.
One morning, as he was brought from his cell at HMP Manchester, the rapist thought he heard a prison officer make a comment he didn’t like. As such the guard was no longer allowed to deal with Sinaga.
It was moments like these that presumably made Sinaga feel like he was still – to some extent at least – in control.
Sinaga has refused to cooperate with the preparation of a pre-sentence report – a document which helps judges assess the risk posed by an offender and the factors underlying their offending.
Probation officers conclude that he presents ‘a very high risk of serious harm’ and is ‘extremely dangerous’.
“Given your denials, that risk will exist for the foreseeable future,” Judge Suzanne Goddard QC told him.
“This was a campaign of rape which justifies the highest of sentences.”
“It still feels that he believes he’s a real difficult character to understand,” one detective told the M.E.N.
“It’s bizarre. Even in the enormity of this sentencing he is still in denial.”
Anyone who thinks they may have been affected by Sinaga’s crimes, come into contact with him under similar circumstances, or someone like him, is urged to contact police via 101.
Specialist officers are waiting to take their calls and offer the appropriate support.
The police can be contacted in the UK on 0800 092 0410 and internationally on 0207 158 0124
Counselling support can be reached via 0800 056 0154 or by calling 0207 158 0011 for international calls.
The Police Major Incident Public Reporting Site website is here
Survivors Manchester supports boys and men who have been affected by rape and sexual assault.
The charity provides therapeutic support and Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVA).
They offer assistance throughout the criminal justice system, from initial reports to court and beyond.
ISVAs work independently of the police, Crown Prosecution Service and court system.
Boys and Men in Greater Manchester affected by sexual abuse, regardless of when it happened, can access Survivors Manchester by calling 0161 236 2182 or emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
A weekly drop in session takes place each Wednesday from 2pm until 5pm.
You can donate to Survivors Manchester here: www.justgiving.com/survivorsmanchester
Greater Manchester Rape Crisis works with women and girls affected by rape and sexual assault. They can be contacted on 0161 273 4591.
St Marys Sexual Assault Referral Centre provides forensic, counselling and aftercare services for people affected by rape and sexual assault. Their services can be accessed without contacting police by calling 0161 276 6515 or visiting: https://www.stmaryscentre.org/
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