A regional daily has revealed that it declined to challenge reporting restrictions after Britain’s “worst rapist” was convicted in order protect his potential victims over Christmas.
The Manchester Evening News decided against opposing the restrictions in the case of Reynhard Sinaga, who has been jailed for life for raping and sexually attacking 48 men in Manchester.
MEN reporter Beth Abbit followed four separate trials involving Sinaga over the course of 18 months, but the newspaper was unable to name the serial rapist until yesterday.
It is believed Sinaga may have up to 195 victims who he filmed himself attacking in his flat after drugging them, making him Britain’s most prolific rapist, although many of those he assaulted are yet to be identified.
Explaining the MEN’s decision not to attempt to name him until now, Beth wrote in a comment piece: “No matter what the individual circumstances were, each of the men who helped bring Sinaga to justice were devastated to find out they had been victims of sexual assault.
“It was the sensitivities around the case that prompted detectives leading the investigation to ask for reporting restrictions to be put in place. They needed to protect not just the victims they knew about, but those they didn’t.
“Reporting restrictions are often lifted on conviction. But in this case they were extended until sentencing, because the fourth trial finished shortly before Christmas, and there were concerns about the availability for counselling services over the holiday period.
“The MEN did not challenge the extension of the reporting restrictions in the circumstances.”
Beth has also praised the paper’s decision to allow her to cover every day of each trial.
She wrote on Twwitter: “I should mention that my bosses at [the MEN] gave me time to cover the Reynhard Sinaga case properly, allowing me to sit in court each day, even though they had to wait more than a year for the story.
“Great to work for a paper that gives you that freedom.”
“Our thoughts are with his victims and for their bravery in ensuring justice was done.”