'Doctor Strange' actor Zara Phythian convicted of child sex abuse
Zara Phythian, one of the cast members of the 2016 Marvel Cinematic Universe film Doctor Strange, has been sentenced to eight years in jail. Along with her husband Victor Marke, Phythian has been found guilty of sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl. Marke was also convicted of sexually abusing another 15-year-old girl and is facing 14-year imprisonment. Trigger warning: Mention of assault.
The trial at Nottingham Crown Court, England, arrived at its conclusion on Monday. The pair was convicted of 14 counts of sexual activity against the 13-year-old girl, between 2005 and 2008. Reportedly, the couple forced the survivor to consume rum, subsequently coercing her into having oral sex. Separately, Marke was found guilty of four counts of indecent assault against a teenager between 2002-03.
During the hearing, Judge Mark Watson held Marke was the "driving force behind the abuse." Addressing Phythian, Watson said, "Whilst you denied in cross-examination that you were besotted with Victor Marke...I am in no doubt that your deviance was shaped by the influence that he had upon you from an early age." However, he added, "None of this excuses what you did."
Senior investigating officer Parminder Dhillon thanked the survivors for not letting their courage waver despite their traumatizing experiences. "Although no punishment can undo the lifelong damage caused, I hope they take some comfort from the knowledge that justice has been done." After the hearing, Phythian, who is a popular stunt artist, shouted, "I'm innocent. Love you all," while waving at the gallery.
Phythian (37) played the role of Brunette Zealot in Doctor Strange, which was headlined by Benedict Cumberbatch. Apart from her stunt work, she also starred in Tribal Get Out Alive (2020) and Knights of the Damned (2017). On the other hand, Marke is a 59-year-old Taekwondo master. In fact, the couple first met when he trained Phythian in martial arts.