Doctor Strange actress Zara Phythian jailed for eight years for child sex abuse

16 May 2022, 11:49 | Updated: 16 May 2022, 12:58

Phythian was jailed for eight years
Phythian was jailed for eight years. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Doctor Strange actress Zara Phythian has been jailed for eight years for sexually abusing a girl.

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Her husband Victor Marke was given 14 years behind bars for abusing the same victim and for indecent assault.

The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was aged between 13 and 15 at the time of the abuse.

Judge Mark Watson, sentencing the couple at Nottingham Crown Court, said he believed that when the abuse started it was pre-planned.

"I regard you as the driving force behind the abuse. You were clearly aware of the first incident but pretended to be asleep,” he told Marke.

"This could only have been a ruse agreed in advance."

The judge told Phythian: "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.

"I cannot ignore that it started at a time when you were still young."

But the judge added: "Having said that, none of this excuses what you did - these were choices you made.

"You were by then successful in your own right. You chose to play your part."

Phythian waved at the public gallery as she was led to the cells, and a woman shouted: "I love you, Zara."

Read more: Doctor Strange star and husband found guilty of string of child sex offences

Phythian, left, has been jailed
Phythian, left, has been jailed. Picture: Alamy

In total, Phythian, 37, was convicted of 14 counts of sexual activity which a child, committed between 2005 and 2008.

Marke, 59, a martial arts instructor, was convicted of the same offences and indecent assault charges relating to another under-age girl he abused on at least eight occasions between 2002 and 2003.

Phythian, from Mansfield, who played "brunette zealot" in the 2016 Benedict Cumberbatch film Doctor Strange, had denied being a paedophile.

Read more: 'I'm no paedophile': Husband of Marvel actress claims sex abuse victim 'jealous' of wife

During the trial, jurors were told the abuse began when Phythian was in her 20s.

Phythian asked the girl, "Do you want to play dare?" and invited her to copy a sex act she had performed on Marke, who she got into a relationship aged 19. Phythian and Marke married in 2015.

Phythian acted in the 2016 film Doctor Strange, part of the popular Marvel superhero films
Phythian acted in the 2016 film Doctor Strange, part of the popular Marvel superhero films. Picture: Alamy

The victim said Marke, of Ravenshead, Nottinghamshire, had threatened her and told her to film some of the abuse.

She was able to describe a Chinese calligraphy tattoo Phythian had near her private parts, and described how Marke would pretened to be asleep before joining in with the abuse.

She was abused at least 20 times until she turned 16.

Phythian had told police the allegations were "bulls***" upon the couple’s arrest in 2017, and suggested the victim could have seen her tattoo in a changing room.

Marke had denied he was attracted to girls in their early teens, but was also convicted of four counts of indecent assault relating to a girl he abused when she was 15.