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Britain’s ‘worst and most violent’ rapists could have ‘lenient’ sentences extended in landmark ruling

Jimmy Nsubuga
·3-min read
Joseph McCann (L) and Reynhard Sinaga could spend the rest of their lives in jail (Picture: PA)
Joseph McCann (left) and Reynhard Sinaga could spend the rest of their lives in jail. (PA)

The crimes committed by two of Britain’s worst rapists were so “exceptionally serious” they should never be released, the Court of Appeal has heard.

Joseph McCann, 35, and Reynhard Sinaga, 37, could spend the rest of their lives in jail if senior judges decide their 30-year minimum jail terms were “unduly lenient”.

At a hearing in London on Wednesday, solicitor general Michael Ellis QC argued the pair should have been given whole life terms for their crimes, which he said were among “some of the worst and most violent that this country has ever witnessed”.

McCann was given 33 life sentences at the Old Bailey in December for a string of horrific sex attacks on 11 women and children during a 15-day cocaine- and vodka-fuelled rampage.

Sinaga was sentenced to life in January at Manchester Crown Court for a total of 159 offences, including 136 counts of rape, committed against 48 men – although police have linked him to more than 190 potential victims.

Watch: Moment Joseph McCann arrested in tree

Screengrab taken from CCTV issued by the Metropolitan Police of Joseph McCann at the Phoenix Lodge Hotel in Watford on the afternoon of April 25, as he left two women, his alleged victims, in his car outside. McCann, 34, who is on trial at the Old Bailey, denies 37 charges relating to 11 women and children including rape, false imprisonment and kidnap. Issue date: Monday November 18, 2019. See PA story COURTS McCann. Photo credit should read: Metropolitan Police/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
CCTV of Joseph McCann during the period in which he committed the attacks. (Police)

Mr Ellis described Sinaga as “the most prolific sex offender the courts have ever seen”.

He added: “The effect on his victims has been devastating and will remain with them for the rest of their lives.”

Mr Ellis said a whole life term for each offender would be a “proper reflection” of their crimes and the “significant harm” caused to a large number of victims.

He argued there is “no hierarchy of seriousness, such that homicide must always rank above sexual offending” when courts consider sentencing.

The hearing, which will test whether a whole life order can be imposed in non-homicide cases, will also be the first time two separate offenders’ sentences have been challenged together as being unduly lenient.

Mr Ellis also argued that, if the court does not consider that whole life terms should be imposed, then the 30-year minimum terms handed to McCann and Sinaga should be increased.

Lawyers representing McCann and Sinaga argued that whole life terms are only imposed in the most serious cases of homicide.

They said that, despite the “extremely serious” nature of the pair’s crimes, they could not be considered “on an equal footing with the very worst cases of murder”.

A general view of the apartment Montana House next to the night club The Factory in Manchester. Reynhard Sinaga, 36, has been jailed at Manchester Crown Court for life and must serve a minimum of 30 years after he was convicted of offences against 48 men.
Reynhard Sinaga's apartment in Manchester (Picture: PA)

McCann attacked his victims across London and the North West last year after he was mistakenly freed from prison early due to an error by probation staff.

He was convicted of all 37 counts, including rape, kidnap and false imprisonment, by a jury.

Sinaga would approach intoxicated young men in central Manchester and lure them to his flat in Princess Street – strategically located near the city’s nightlife hotspots.

The Indonesian student would spike them with sedatives – which the CPS said were probably GHB-laced shots – and make them unconscious before filming himself raping them.

Most of his victims were unaware of what had happened to them until one man woke up while Sinaga was raping him.

He is believed to have attacked “scores more men” since he arrived in the UK in 2007, the CPS said, making him the “worst known sex offender in the country’s history”.

Judge Suzanne Goddard QC described Sinaga as “an evil serial sexual predator” and a “monster”.

She ruled his life sentence must include a minimum of 30 years in jail, but this could be significantly extended after the attorney general’s office found the sentence to be “unduly lenient”.