During the investigation, statements were gathered from studio staff, and further research revealed other photography businesses owned by the suspect Sritharan Sayanthan – Image Credit: Metropolitan Police site
Photographer Sritharan Sayanthan, 42, from Fitzrovia, was sentenced on Friday (21) to 11 years in prison following his conviction on two counts of rape and one count of attempted rape after a seven-day trial at Hendon Crown Court.
The victim, a woman in her 30s, visited Sayanthan’s photography studio on Brompton Road in London in May 2022, paying for photographs to be taken, the Daily Mail reported.
On July 8, 2022, the victim met with Sayanthan again for a drink, which she believed was part of the networking process related to the agency.
Sayanthan had contacted her online to arrange this meeting.
They met at a pub in Warren Street at 7:40 pm, and he encouraged her to drink alcohol, quickly making her intoxicated.
Sayanthan then led the victim to his studio, where she eventually blacked out on the floor.
When partially awake, she became aware of him sexually assaulting her and was unable to respond verbally or physically.
The victim woke later to find Sayanthan dressing her and then escorting her to the station.
The victim, a Chinese national, reported the offenses to the police on July 31, 2022.
She refrained from informing the police earlier because she was unsure about how or if rape cases were investigated in the UK.
An investigation was conducted by detectives from Central North Command.
The detectives investigated, discovering Transport for London CCTV footage showing the victim arriving at Warren Street Station, and four hours later returning to the station, where she appeared unsteady on her feet under Sayanthan’s direction.
During the investigation, statements were gathered from studio staff, and further research revealed other photography businesses owned by the suspect.
Historical allegations of sexual assault against clients in 2012 and 2015 were also found, but those investigations had been closed due to evidential difficulties.
However, these cases served as bad character evidence against Sayanthan.
Detective Constable Sophie Baker from the Central North Command commended the victim’s bravery in providing detailed testimony during the trial.
She encouraged potential other victims of Sayanthan to come forward, assuring them of support and a serious investigation.
The Metropolitan Police has urged anyone with relevant information to contact them and emphasised their determination to bring offenders to justice.