Actress Zara Phythian – who appeared in Marvel's Doctor Strange movie in 2016 – has been found guilty of sexually abusing a 15-year-old-girl, and has been sentenced to eight years in prison. Phythian had been arrested and charged along with her husband, Victor Marke (59), who has now been sentenced to fourteen years in prison for the crime. The couple was charged and convicted on fourteen charges of sexual activity with a child, between 2005 and 2008, with multiple victims, ages thirteen and fifteen.
The judge determined that while Zara was involved in the crime, Victor was the "driving force behind the abuse." In fact, Jude Mark Watson went so far as to state that Marke had groomed Phythian into committing that sort of abuse:
"Whilst you denied in cross-examination that you were besotted with Victor Marke, on the evidence I have heard I am in no doubt that your deviance was shaped by the influence that he had upon you from an early age," the judge told Phythian (via BBC News).
Phythian and Marke both denied all of the allegations before being found guilty. An account from the first victim alleges that the couple seduced and abused her while they were both working as martial arts instructors in Nottinghamshire, England. One sordid account from the first teenage victim describes Phythian taunting and goading her into performing oral sex on Marke, after being given alcohol by the couple (who were allegedly not yet married at the time).
Senior investigating officer Parminder Dhillon released a statement after the verdict:
"I want to thank the two victims who have showed great courage in coming forward and talking about their ordeal. Although no punishment handed down by a court can undo the lifelong damage caused to them, I do hope they take some degree of comfort from the knowledge that justice has now been done."
I hope this case serves as a reminder to others — that we treat all allegations of sexual abuse with the utmost seriousness and that, even in cases where offenses occurred many years ago, we will thoroughly investigate and we will do everything in our power to bring perpetrators to justice."
Zara Phythian's screen credits are pretty modest (to put it nicely); her bit role as the "Brunette Zealot" working with Kaecilius (Mad Mikkelsen) in Doctor Strange is pretty much the standout in her filmography.
You can reach the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to www.childhelp.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential.