/The £1 drug used by rapist Reynhard Sinaga has left a trail of misery

The £1 drug used by rapist Reynhard Sinaga has left a trail of misery

Costing just £1 a dose, it can produce feelings of euphoria – but just a millimetre too much can kill.

This is ‘G’ – the drug police believe serial rapist Reynhard Sinaga used to knock out up to 195 victims before attacking them.

It’s been linked to murders, accidental deaths and bizarre behaviour in users, stretching back decade.

When people buy G they don’t know what they’re getting.

It could be GHB (Gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid).

Or it could be its more easily available, even more dangerous relative, GBL (Gamma-butyrolactone) –  an industrial solvent powerful enough to melt plastic.

The two, related substances, used interchangeably, have been linked to the deaths of more than 90 people between 1993 and 2017, including young Mancunians, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Serial killer Stephen Port, responsible for the deaths of four men in London, used ‘G’ to murder victims he met on the gay dating app Grindr.

‘Grindr killer’ Stephen Port
(Image: PA)

His drug dealer, Gerald Matovu, went on to murder actor Eric Michels using the drug.

After the singer George Michael was arrested, slumped at the wheel of his car in 2007, GHB was found to be in his system, and the hitmaker is reported to have struggled with dependency on it before his 2016 death.

Eric Michel was plied with a fatal dose of GHB in a robbery plot
(Image: PA)

In Greater Manchester the drug has figured in a series of tragic episodes, including deaths involving multiple drug consumption.

Last year, much-loved TV hair stylist Scott Meadows, from Leigh, died in March last year after collapsing at a party, shortly after downing GHB mixed with Lucozade, among a cocktail of other drugs, an inquest heard.

And the inquest following the death of Kyle Burton, 26, from Partington, heard he died after taking drugs including GHB at a party in Manchester in 2016.

Talented Scott Meadows died accidentally following GHB use

Back in 1997, Andrea Murphy, a 25-year-old chef manager, was found dead at her home in Wigan after taking GHB and amphetamines.

It led to her parents launching a campaign to get possession and use of the drug banned.

In 2002, a man was accused of using pliers to pull out 18 of his girlfriends teeth while high on GHB.

He told Bolton Crown Court he had no recollection of events because he had ‘total memory loss’ for a week after bingeing on the drug.

He was cleared of causing grievous bodily harm with intent after the woman told jurors she had done it herself after hallucinating that a luminous pink and green fly had flown down her throat and started choking her.

In 2009, a young woman from Crumpsall revealed how GBL had destroyed her liver and her appearance in four years of abuse.

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Reynhard Sinaga: The Manchester student who raped ‘hundreds of men’ in city centre flat

GHB was banned in 2003 and its chemical relative GBL banned in 2009.

But in recent years there has been a revival in the use of both drugs. 

In April 2019, the M.E.N reported how Patrick Ettenes, 36, had been raped while under the influence of ‘G’.

He woke up at drug-fuelled sex party in Manchester with people stepping over him, having lost consciousness after his drink was spiked with a heavy dose of GHB or GBL.

“They gave me a high amount, I remember someone getting on top of me and that was it,” he said.

“I woke up on the floor with people stepping over me like I was a piece of paper. I just went home.”

Patrick never reported his rape to the police and didn’t speak about it to anyone until recently.

He has since sought therapy to help him with the trauma.

Such is the drug’s impact that Coronation Street included it in character David Platt’s sexual assault storyline, with rapist Josh admitting having spiked his drink with ‘G’.

David Platt was sexually assaulted by Josh Tucker
Viewers saw David Platt sexually assaulted by Josh Tucker in Coronation Street after being plied with ‘G’

If ‘G’ is slipped into an alcoholic drink – like whiskey or vodka – the taste may disappear completely.

Or users may notice a slightly salty taste.

When Reynhard Sinaga handed his victims a drink, most thought he was simply a ‘nice guy’ who was offering shelter while they waited for friends of girlfriends.

Either that, or they though he was a Good Samaritan who had come to their rescue when they were heavily intoxicated.

However police, prosecutors, four juries and a judge are all convinced Sinaga used the ‘date rape’ drug to subdue them before attacking them and filming the abuse.

During Sinaga’s first trial, the jury was shown footage of a victim who appears awake and aware of his surroundings.

“You can see on camera that Sinaga gives him a shot of what looks like alcohol, takes that and within 15mins you can see him on screen losing consciousness,” says Detective Inspector Zed Ali.

Inside Sinaga’s flat: He spiked his victims’ drinks with ‘G’

No substances were ever found in Sinaga’s flat, or in his victim’s systems because of the passage of time.

But the circumstances were such that four separate juries, in each of Sinaga’s trials for attacks on a total of 48 identified victims between 2015 and 2017, were persuaded his victims had been spiked.

Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor, Ian Rushton, explains.

“It seems to us that the behaviour of the victims is such that it can only be attributed to some substance over and above alcohol,” he says.

“Many of us have had too many drinks, but we’re not rendered so incapable to the extent that the victims in this case quite obviously were.

“Many of the men, the vast majority, didn’t know what had happened so didn’t seek any medical intervention or examination at the time, so that route of possible evidential material was not there for us.

“But the obvious inference we invited the jury to take, and they accepted, is that Sinaga’s modus operandi involved the spiking of a drink and the awful consequences that followed from that.”

Many of Sinaga’s victims vomited or lost bladder control after being drugged – a common feature of G.

‘I’ve never come across someone recording so graphically their offending’: Det Insp Zed Ali says of Sinaga (pictured)

The law puts GHB/GBL in the least category of seriousness – Class C – and their effects last around an hour, but doses are difficult to judge – making it particularly easy to accidentally overdose.

The parents of one victim – Paddy Bloor, a Sheffield University student who died after taking GHB in 2018 at a ‘chemsex’ party – have been campaigning for it to be included in routine toxicology screening, and for it to be reclassified as a Class A drug.

Home Secretary Priti Patel, pictured here at the Tory conference in Manchester, is concerned by the use of ‘G’ in attacks
(Image: Getty Images)

And in the wake of Sinaga’s sentencing on Monday, Home Secretary Priti Patel called for a review of the laws around ‘G’.

She said: “Sinaga committed truly sickening crimes and it is right that he has been sentenced to life imprisonment.

“I extend my heartfelt sympathy to his victims and my gratitude to the police and prosecutors who worked on this case and put him behind bars.

“I’m deeply concerned by the use of illegal drugs like GHB to perpetrate these crimes and have asked the independent Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs to expedite a review looking at whether our controls for these drugs are tough enough.”

The drug is synonymous with the ‘chemsex’ scene, in which men meet for drug-fuelled, private sex parties, mainly because of its ability to increase arousal and disinhibition.

But more recently GHB and GBL – known collectively as G – are being used by a far wider group of people.

In fact it is increasingly available in clubs and pubs, gay and straight, across Manchester, according to charities.

A millilitre of ‘G’ costs just £1 – and is more than enough to knock some people out cold.

Montana House, in the background, became the scene of Sinaga’s horrific offending
(Image: Joel Goodman)

Forensic toxicologist Dr Simon Elliott – an expert for the prosecution in the Sinaga case – explained to jurors that G can lead to unconsciousness for several hours, even in minute doses.

He also explained how the potentially lethal drug – which is freely available to buy online – can leave users with anterograde amnesia.

This means they are unable to recall the recent past, even though memories prior to an event remain intact.

Dr Elliot explained how GHB was initially used to anaesthetise patients for surgery but sometimes caused them to ‘twitch’ or even wake up.

“It was unpredictable as to how long someone would remain anaesthetised,” he said.

It was later used by bodybuilders under the misconception that it could help them build muscles while they slept.

But it wasn’t until the 1990s that GHB started to be sold in sex shops and used during sex because of its ability to enhance erection, male orgasm, cause disinhibition and a heightened sense of touch.

(Image: Wikipedia Commons)

“It can have a hypnotic and euphoric effect,” Dr Elliott said while giving evidence.

These effects spawned the nicknames ‘liquid ecstasy’, ‘High and Horny’ and ‘Hung, High and Horny’.

In its powder form, GHB dissolves in liquid within seconds and is often taken in ‘capfuls’ from a bottle with effects beginning within 15 minutes.

GBL – the liquid form of GHB – is most commonly used as an industrial solvent to clean car alloys.

It automatically converts to GHB in the body but it is not intended for human consumption, it can cause nausea as well as deep sedation.

“The degree of sedation can vary from a little bit sleepy to unconsciousness,” Dr Elliott said in evidence.

“Everybody reacts differently to the same dose.

“One gram of GHB can be euphoric. Another person could take the same and feel very ill or even vomit.”

He added: “Coma is a common factor of GHB. If someone takes too much they can go into an actual coma.

“It’s as if they are clinically anesthetised.”

Users will remain in this state until they spontaneously wake up – often seven hours after ingesting the drug.

“What I used to see with patients was that they would be admitted to the hospital I was working at in an unconscious state, essentially completely out of it,” Dr Elliott told a jury.

“The doctors didn’t know what they had taken.

“They had to be admitted to intensive care but after about seven hours would wake up spontaneously and find themselves in intensive care with all of the tubes in them.

“They would not know what they were there apart from knowing themselves that they had taken GHB.

“That spontaneous awake – it’s quite unique.”

A number of people, who may be victims of Sinaga’s crimes, have come forward since he was jailed for life (picture posed by model)
(Image: Reading Titles)

High doses of G can have potentially fatal toxic effects by depressing the central nervous system.

Even a thumbnail of GHB powder will generally cause relaxation and disinhibition, while one gram will cause euphoria.

Two to three grams will cause deep sleep.

Around four grams can induce coma, equivalent two – three millilitres of GBL.

Any more can be enough to kill a person.

The danger lies in the fact that each individual has a different tolerance.

“This is what’s really frightening,” says DI Ali, who led the investigation into Sinaga.

“If it’s GHB he’s used and he’s used it on this many victims it could have resulted in fatality.

“So he’s not just raping them but playing with their lives.”

Reynhard Sinaga

Were it not for ‘G’ it seems unlikely Sinaga could have offended on the scale he did, or got away with it for so long.

His use of drugs not only prevented all but one of them from fighting back, it relaxed the muscles to the point they felt no intimate injury.

Despite it’s potency, 100ml of G – often bought from China – can be sold for as little as £60.

Doses are often sold in glass vials, stored in a drinking containers or even in the small, plastic, fish-shaped soy sauce containers found in packets of sushi.

While sentencing Sinaga, Judge Suzanne Goddard QC told him: “Giving precise doses (of G) to men who have drunk alcohol is obviously risky as such drugs have an effect on the levels of consciousness.

“It was a risk you were prepared to ignore to satisfy your perverted desire to have sex with unconscious heterosexual men and film your activities.”

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