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Huge appeal issued for more victims as sex attacker jailed for 10 years

NewsHuge appeal issued for more victims as sex attacker jailed for 10 years

The Met Police has appealed for any victims of Sritharan Sayanthan, 42, to come forward after he was jailed for 11 years for rape on Friday.

He was found guilty of two counts of rape of a woman and one count of attempted rape of a woman after a seven-day trial at Hendon Crown Court.

The court heard how the woman in her 30s, attended Sayanthan’s photography studio on Brompton Road in May 2022 where she paid for photographs to be taken. 

The victim met with him again on July 8 2022 for a drink, which she believed was part of the networking process associated with the agency. 

They met at a pub in Warren Street at 7.40pm where he encouraged her to drink alcohol which made her intoxicated, very quickly. He then led the victim to his studio. Here she blacked out on the studio floor. 

When partially awake she was aware of Sayanthan sexually assaulting her. She was unable to respond verbally or physically.

She eventually woke to find him putting her clothes back on her. He walked her to the station.

The victim, a Chinese national, reported the offences to police on July 31 2022. She did not tell the police earlier because she did not know how. or if, rape was investigated in the UK.

Detectives from the Met Police Central North Command carried out an investigation. 

They discovered Transport for London CCTV footage of the victim arriving at Warren Street Station and then her back at the station nearly four hours later. 

Sayanthan was seen directing the victim, who was noticeably unsteady on her feet, to the tube station. 

She provided a visually recorded Interview in August and once the suspect was identified he was arrested during a pre-planned warrant in September. 

Statements were gathered from studio staff and further research uncovered several other photography businesses owned by the suspect.

Detectives fear he could have struck before, at least from 2012 onwards.

Two historical allegations of sexual assault against clients by the same suspect in 2012 and 2015 were retrieved. 

These investigations were closed at the time due to evidential difficulties, however these cases were served as bad character evidence against the former photographer. 

Unfortunately vital CCTV was lost in these investigations as were forensic opportunities due to the delayed time of reporting. 

A Met spokesman said: “While delays in reporting sexual offences can be challenging, we have specially trained officers who will follow up all lines of inquiry, and seek to prosecute when the evidence will support it.

Detective Constable Sophie Baker said: “We also believe there could be other victims of Sayanthan and would encourage anyone who wants to speak to us to come forward. No piece of information is too small and you will be listened to and supported.”

When he is released he will also have a Sexual Harm Prevention Order imposed on him.

DC Baker added: “The victim survivor in this case was fantastic from start to finish. She was extremely nervous at the prospect of giving evidence but, with the support of an interpreter, she told the court in fine detail what happened.

For victims, describing the incident in court can be daunting but she did amazingly and I am personally very proud of her bravery and thankful to her for coming forward.

“By working with our partners across the criminal justice system, we are determined to bring offenders to justice.”

We will prioritise action against sexual and violent, predatory offenders and we would ask any victim or witness to sexual assault, to please contact us. We have specially trained officers who will help and support you.”

If you have been a victim of sexual assault or rape or you have information about an offender, contact police on 101 or 999 in an emergency – there are specially trained officers who will listen and investigate where needed.

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