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Dr Strange actress ‘sexually abused girl 13, alongside her husband’

A Hollywood actress and her husband repeatedly had sex with a 13-year-old girl after grooming her, a court has heard.

Zara Phythian, who appeared in Doctor Strange with Benedict Cumberbatch, is accused of numerous sexual offences along with her husband Victor Marke.

The girl, who is now an adult, told police that the couple filmed most of the abuse in an attempt to recreate pornographic scenes.

Phythian, 36, and her husband, 59, deny all of the offences.

The abuse is claimed to have happened between 2005 and 2008, before the couple were married and when they were both martial arts instructors in Nottingham.

A police interview with the woman was played to jurors at Nottingham Crown Court where she described details of the alleged sexual offences when she was aged between 13 and 15.

Zara Marke, 36, is accused of giving her husband oral sex and daring the child to join in (Picture: Nottingham Post / BPM Media)

She said the first offences happened after the couple gave her alcohol to drink.

Phythian then gave her husband oral sex and asked the child to join in. She said Marke then had sex with both of them.

‘I knew it was wrong but I just didn’t know how to get out of the situation or say anything,’ she told police.

‘I remember trying to copy Zara’s reaction at the time because I looked up to her and tried to be like her in every way.’

The child also felt like she was being ‘coached’ by Phythian to get better at the sexual activity, the court was told.

Doctor Strange
Phythian was at the height of her success when the allegations were made to the police, the court heard (Picture: Marvel)

She estimated Marke, a coach in martial arts and Taekwondo at a very high level, had sex with her about 20 times on different occasions.

As the abuse continued, she said Marke threatened to smash her kneecaps if she told anyone, reports the BBC.

‘He just said nobody would believe me if I told them anyway,’ she told police.

‘They always had a power over me.’

Phythian, who now goes by her married name of Zara Marke, was ‘at the height of her success’ when the allegations were made, having portrayed the Brunette Zealot in the Marvel film.

Barrister Francis McGrath, who is representing the film star’s husband, made reference to Phythian’s climb to fame as he cross-examined the complainant.

He said: ‘Throughout 2016, you would be aware from national media and social media posts, she (Zara Marke) was enjoying unprecedented personal and professional success in a motion picture starring Benedict Cumberbatch. 

‘On December 4, 2016, at the height of her success, you made a complaint.’

This led to a police video recording of her allegations two days later.

The woman told the court ‘they are not linked’ when it was suggested she went to police after someone from her youth was experiencing unprecedented success.

She decided it was the responsible thing to make a disclosure to police due to the job she was in.

She told the court she was dealing with two safeguarding cases at work, ‘matters which were very tough to deal with and, for me personally, was taking a toll on’.

After she felt she could not cope with ‘not saying anything anymore’, she decided to say something.

Marke and Phythian are jointly accused of 14 charges of sexual activity with a child in relation to the woman.

Marke faces four allegations, all denied, of historic indecent assault on another woman who was 15 at the time between 2002 and 2003. 

The trial continues.

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