Reynhard Sinaga: who is Manchester rapist, where is he, and what is BBC documentary Catching a Predator about?

Police first learned of the mature student’s crimes when they found him severely beaten up in his Manchester flat

Sinaga was jailed for a minimum of 40 years for his heinous crimes (Picture: PA)

BBC Two’s documentary Catching a Predator explores what happened to the victims of serial rapist Reynhard Sinaga.

The Indonesian national, now 38, drugged and raped over 200 men between 2015 and 2017 while living in Manchester as a student.

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He was first charged in 2017, but his case was not made public by Manchester Police until 2020.

So, who is the man now considered the most prolific rapist in British judicial history - and how was he caught? This is what you need to know.

Who is Reynhard Sinaga?

Sinaga was born and raised in Indonesia and graduated from the University of Indonesia in 2006, before moving to the UK in 2007  to study towards a masters degree.

He studied at Manchester University and completed a Master of Science degree in Planning in 2009, then a Master of Arts in Sociology in 2011.

At the point of his arrest in June 2017, he was residing in a flat on Princess Street in Manchester city centre - surrounded by bars and clubs.

He was studying for a PhD in human geography through Leeds University, but failed his thesis on ‘Sexuality and everyday transnationalism among South Asian gay and bisexual men in Manchester’.

He was described by his peers as chatty ‘Rey’, and was known for being a regular church-goer.

However, despite his harmless exterior, it was discovered that Sinaga had been drugging young men aged between 17 and 36, luring them back to his flat and then raping them - sometimes repeatedly - while filming the attacks on one of his two iPhones.

The earliest of his known attacks was documented on his phone on New Years Day 2015, the final attack took place on 2 June 2017, when he drugged and attempted to rape an 18-year-old amateur rugby player.

He was convicted of 159 sex offences, including 136 rapes of young men committed in Manchester between 2015 and 2017.

Detectives and the prosecution believe this is the tip of the iceberg, and that it’s likely that there were other victims pre-dating the 2015 attacks.

Many of his victims had no idea they had been attacked, waking in his flat the morning after a night out and apologising for imposing themselves on their host.

How was he caught?

In photos taken after his initial arrest, he is shown badly beaten with two black eyes, bruises on his face and steri-strips applied to his eye lids.

Sinaga was beaten up by his final victim, an 18-year-old amateur rugby player (Picture: BBC/Manchester Police )

Sinaga was attacked by the victim of his final crime, an 18-year-old amateur rugby player who woke up, face down, while Sinaga was on top of him.

The young man, who had been out for drinks and had lost his friends, was lured back to the apartment by Sinaga, who offered to help him find his friends.

Like Sinaga’s other 200+ victims, the teenager was drugged with a GHA-laced drink and then Sinaga filmed himself as he attacked the unconscious victim.

However, unlike the others, the amateur rugby player woke during the assault and defended himself, beating Sinaga so badly that the paramedics who found him thought he had a bleed on his brain.

In CCTV taken from security outside the apartment block, Sinaga can be seen being stretchered from his home while slipping from consciousness. He was rushed to Manchester Royal Infirmary by ambulance.

Sinaga’s flat was stained with blood when paramedics arrived (Picture; Manchester Police)

The rugby player, who was aware of the injuries he had inflicted on his attacker, had phoned 999 and reported that he thought he had been raped and then fought back against the attacker.

The call, which BBC Two obtained from Manchester police, opens with the victim telling the operator: “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.”

“I tried to push him away”, the teenager explains, “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 times just to, to stop him from attacking me, been on top me.

“I’ve had to. 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.”

The teen was then arrested and charged with grievous bodily harm (GBH).

Paramedics found Sinaga on the floor of his bathroom in a pool of blood.

When Sinaga came round in hospital, he asked the nurse, “what happened, was I raped,” knowing only too well his own crimes.

Officers asked Sinaga to unlock his phone, but he continuously provided the wrong PIN number. When he finally gave the correct one, the phone opened on a video of Sinaga attacking his victim.

At 3.52pm on June 3, 2017, Sinaga was initially arrested on suspicion of a single count of rape. He was eventually questioned by police two days later.

A second iPhone was found under his bed in his apartment, the contents of which led to his conviction. The two phones contained hundreds of videos and images of his attacks and allowed police to identify some of the victims.

Police also discovered dozens of phones, driving licences, student ID cards, watches and a wallet - all belonging to men Sinaga had drugged and raped.

These ID documents, along with photos, videos and screen grabs of victims’ Facebook profile images, were described as keepsakes of a “trophy rapist”.

Of his 207 victims, 204 were heterosexual men. The first they learned of their attacks was when police contacted them to inform them they had been identified from footage on Sinaga’s phones.

One of Sinaga’s victims, Daniel, has waived his identity to take part in the BBC Two documentary.

It is just horrible to see yourself that vulnerable in photographs that someone else has taken," he said.

One of his victims, Daniel, has waived his right to anonymity in order to reveal the impact of Sinaga’s crimes (Picture: BBC)

"You can see I am comatose... I look dead,” he added. “To say as a man I have been raped is a hard thing, it makes you feel so vulnerable."

How long is Sinaga serving in prison?

After four court cases which took place from 2018 to 2020, Sinaga was sentenced to a 30-year prison sentence after being convicted of 136 rapes, eight attempted rapes, 13 sexual assaults and two assaults by penetration.

This was later raised to 40 years, following a hearing at the Court of Appeals on 11 December 2020.

In total, 155 men contacted Greater Manchester Police when details of his crimes became public knowledge in January 2020.

Of those, 23 have been identified as victims by detectives. None of those have pursued prosecution as they are satisfied with the convictions and sentence already secured.

Following his sentencing, Sinaga was taken to HMP Wakefield, where he is expected to remain for the entirety of his sentence.

Sinaga’s father, Saibun Sinaga, told  BBC Indonesia a day after the sentencing that his son "got what he deserved" and that "we accept the verdict. His punishment fits his crimes. I don’t want to discuss the case any further.”

His mother, Normawati Silaen, told The Sunday Times that she "wondered if [Sinaga’s final victim] had made up the story,” adding "We are a good Christian family who do not believe in homosexuality. He is my baby."

‘Catching a Predator’ aired on 6 October, and is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.