“Our Thoughts are with his Victims”: University of Leeds Responds to Rape Conviction of Former Student

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This article contains references and descriptions of rape. 

A former University of Leeds PhD student based in Manchester has been convicted of 159 sexual offences including 136 rapes. It is believed that Reynhard Sinaga was found guilty of luring at least 48 men from Manchester nightclubs to his flat where he gave them drugs and assault them. The trials took place over 18 months at Manchester Crown Court with unanimous guilty verdicts on all charges.

The rapist was caught in June 2017 when one victim after regaining consciousness was able to fight Sinaga off and contact the police. 

The police say they have evidence that Sinaga who was studying for a PhD at the University of Leeds targeting at least 190 victims. 

A University of Leeds spokesperson said: 

“We were appalled when the police informed us about the crimes of Reynhard Sinaga, and our thoughts are with his victims and all those involved in this disturbing and distressing case.”

The University also emphasised the support available to students, particularly those who might have been affected. 

In terms of University support, should anyone wish to disclose any incident or if this triggers any need for support (from staff or students), then our support and advice services are fully aware of this case. 

https://students.leeds.ac.uk/info/10700/support_and_wellbeing/1148/sexual_assault_abuse_or_harassment

We can support anyone in reporting any incident to the Police

Incidents can also be reported anonymously through our online system

There is also support from Leeds University Union Student Advice

Greater Manchester Police has also opened an incident room with details of support agencies.

Reporting restrictions were lifted at a sentencing hearing at Manchester Crown Court meaning that Sinaga could be identified for the first time. The Crown Prosecution service called Sinaga “the most prolific rapist in British legal history”.

Most of his victims were living in Manchester at the time and 26 were students when they were attacked. Sinaga was described as taking ‘a particular pleasure in preying on heterosexual men’. 

It is believed that Sinaga used the drug “GHB”, a psychoactive drug that is colourless and odourless, to intoxicate his victims. It is used by clubbers and those who engage in “chemsex” and between 2007-2017 more than 200 deaths were linked to the drug. 

The drug was used by Stephen Port, nicknamed the “Grindr Killer”, who murdered four men between June 2014 and September 2015. Port was also convicted of assaulting several living victims using GHB.

No trace of the drug was found at his apartment and the final victim was not tested soon enough for its presence to be established. However it was argued that the symptoms shown in hundreds of videos were consistent with GHB intoxication. Each trial heard expert evidence about its effects and victims described him providing clear liquid shots.

Sinaga, who lived in a rented flat close to the Factory Nightclub in Manchester, operated in a small area with his targets being men in their late teenage years or early 20s who were out drinking at nearby nightclubs. Some of the victims had been targeted while on their way home or having gotten lost and separated from friends.

Some victims were too intoxicated with alcohol to remember their initial conversation with Sinaga but those that did said there was no indication of a sexual motive. Several victims recalled him smiling frequently and appearing unthreatening. To coax men back to his flat, Sinaga would pose as a “Good Samaritan” seeking to help. One man recalled Sinaga offering him to come back to his flat and charge his phone as he was unable to get a taxi and his phone had run out of battery.

Judge Suzanne Goddard QC told the court that the total number of Sinaga’s potential victims was 195. The police were able to be accurate with these numbers because Sinaga filmed many of his rapes and collected stolen items as “trophies”.

Sinaga pleaded not guilty despite the overwhelming evidence meaning the case went to a series of four trials. Sinaga claimed, in what the judge called a ludicrous offence, that video footage showing victims to be unconscious while being penetrated was roleplay that each victim had agreed to where they would pretend to be asleep.

Where in videos victims were heard to be loudly snoring, Sinaga initially claimed that these were just breathing sounds.

Assistant Chief Constable Mabbs Hussain said the true extent of offences committed would never be known and that “we suspect he’s offended over a period of 10 years”. Sinaga’s convictions relate to crimes committed from January 2015 to June 2017.

Detectives say they have been unable to identify 70 victims and have appealed for anyone who believes they may have been abused by Sinaga to come forward.

Yorkshire Mesmac have also released a statement saying:

You may have seen that a man has been convicted today of the sexual abuse and rape of hundreds of men. We are aware that this man studied at Leeds University, if anyone in or around the Leeds area has been affected by this, and wishes to talk to someone, you can call us on 0113 2444 209 to talk to one of our staff to see if we can support you in any way. We also recommend having a look at male survivors UK for extra support. Please don’t suffer in silence.

Image Credit: Greater Manchester Police