LONDON – British actress Zara Phythian and her husband Victor Marke are accused of repeatedly having sex with a 13-year-old girl after grooming her.
The couple, who appeared in Nottingham Crown Court on Thursday (April 28), face 14 joint charges of sexual activity with the child, who is now a woman, between 2005 and 2008.
They have denied all charges.
The alleged victim said the first offences happened after the couple gave her alcohol and Phythian dared her to perform a sex act on Marke.
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 in an interview played in court.
She claimed Marke abused her “once or twice a month” for the next three years.
Phythian, 36, had a minor role as Brunette Zealot in superhero movie Doctor Strange (2016), starring Benedict Cumberbatch, and has performed stunts in various movies and television shows. She and her husband Marke, 59, are martial arts instructors and sport coaches.
The alleged victim said: “They saw the vulnerability in me and preyed on that, and saw my mum was struggling and took advantage of that. I found it quite hard and they kind of instructed me through all of it (the sexual activity)”
She revealed the couple filmed most of the abuse in an attempt to recreate pornographic scenes and Marke allegedly threatened to smash her kneecaps if she told anyone.
“He just said nobody would believe me if I told them anyway,” she said to police.
“They always had a power over me.”
Marke, who was married to another woman at the time of the alleged abuse, was having an affair with Phythian, who was herself a teenager then.
He faces four other charges of indecent assault on another teenage girl between 2002 and 2003, which he has denied.