bronze Lady Justice statue on top of the Old Bailey

Sexual assault survivor showed ‘heroism’ in aiding investigation

Content warning — discussions of sexual assault investigation and domestic abuse.

A Met Police detective praised a sexual assault survivor for aiding an investigation that led to the imprisonment of her rapist. 

Michael Wynter, 34, of Lambeth, was found guilty of raping a woman between 2019 and 2021 and was sentenced to seven years imprisonment at the Old Bailey on Tuesday, April 30. 

Detective Constable Adam Conibeere said Wynter raped a woman while she was asleep or unconscious.

Wynter was arrested in December 2021 after the police obtained a formal statement from the complainant and collected communications evidence from the suspect and complainant. 

In a press statement, investigation leader Conibeere said: “I would like to praise the victim-survivor who handled the entire investigation and court process courageously and I can only hope this outcome will help to provide some comfort and bring the closure she deserves as she tries to move on with her life.

“She showed incredible strength and heroism in coming forward to report the matter after lengthy consideration, due to the fact she did not want anyone else to suffer at the hands of Wynter.” 

Wynter was placed on the Sex Offender registry in 2021 after having been convicted of sexually assaulting a child between 2002 and 2003. 

This arrest is a small victory after a UN expert, Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls Reem Alsalem, declared violence against women and girls to be a national threat in the UK in February. 

In the year ending in March 2023, 1.4 million women were the victims of domestic abuse crimes according to the Office for National Statistics.

A similar report from November 2023 found that two women were killed a week by a former or current partner in England and Wales according to the Office for National Statistics

Police receive domestic abuse phone calls every 30 seconds according to the National Centre for Domestic Abuse

The Met’s mission to end violence against women and girls (VAWG) began in 2022 and has since been expanded in its 2023 action plan. 

The 2023 action plan to end VAWG comprises building trust and confidence, relentlessly pursuing perpetrators, and creating safer spaces for women and girls. 

To fulfill these plans, the Met Police plans on expanding VAWG teams, providing support for survivors of VAWG during investigations, and ending police-perpetrated VAWG. 

Conibeere said: “Tackling violence against women and girls is a key priority for the Met. 

“We will continue to do all we can to remove predatory offenders from the streets of London while supporting the complainants and helping them through every stage.”

Since the UN’s announcement, politicians and senior police officers have come forward pledging new solutions to the growing issue of VAWG. 

Newly re-elected London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced plans to use the lived experiences of survivors of VAWG to make London safer for women and girls

Before his re-election, Khan said he would hold women’s safety audits at five locations to assess women’s safety in London, focusing on public spaces. 

According to the Evening Standard, Khan said: “This innovative new trial will put the direct experiences of women and girls right at the centre of how we make decisions about safety in London.

“Whether around how we design our Tube or bus stations or where exactly we prioritise new lighting or other safety measures, it will ensure investment directly reflects the lived experiences of women and girls.”

Police in the UK are taking the campaign to end VAWG one step further, as Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis Sir Mark Rowley likened VAWG to terrorism. 

According to ITV, Rowley said: “The aim nationally should be to treat it as a national security threat like we treat organised crime, like we treat terrorism.” 

If you or someone you know has experienced domestic abuse and fears for their safety, contact the National Centre for Domestic Abuse at 0800 970 2070 or text NCDV to 60777. 

Feature image credit- Tony Hisgett, Wikimedia Commons Creative License

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