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Doctor Strange actress Zara Phythian and husband Victor Marke guilty of child sex abuse

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Actress Zara Phythian, who starred in the 2016 Marvel film Dr Strange, and her husband were found guilty by Nottingham Crown Court of a series of child sex charges after they jointly cared for and abused a a teenager.

Phythian, who also runs a martial arts academy, was convicted of 14 counts of sexual activity with a child committed between 2005 and 2008, when the victim was in her early teens.

Jurors also convicted the 37-year-old woman’s husband, Victor Marke, 59, of the same 14 indecent assault offenses and charges relating to another underage girl he abused on at least eight occasions between 2002 and 2003.

Both men were denied bail and are expected to be sentenced on Monday.

Taking Phythian and her husband Victor Marke into custody, Judge Mark Watson told them: “You both know that the sentence I impose will probably be measured by a considerable period of custody.”

Phythian’s lawyer had asked the judge to allow him to be released on bail pending sentencing to allow him to “settle” unspecified issues.

Phythian, from Mansfield, denied being a pedophile during his two-week trial, while her husband, who is also a martial arts instructor, broke down on the witness stand.

Jurors heard that the abuse of the couple’s common victim began when Phythian, then in his early twenties, asked him, “Do you want to play dare?” and invited her to copy a sex act she performed on Marke.

The victim, who cannot be named, told the court that Marke threatened her and ordered her to film some of the abuse by the ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ couple.

Phythian denied having any sexual contact with the victim, who described a Chinese calligraphy tattoo the actress has near her private parts.

The victim, who came forward after a separate complaint in 2016, described how Marke pretended to be asleep before joining in what she believed was pre-planned abuse alongside Phythian.

Jurors heard that the abuse of the couple’s common victim began when Zara Phythian, then in her early twenties, asked him, “Do you want to play dare?” and invited her to copy a sex act she had performed on her husband Victor Marke

(Jacob King/AP)

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She was abused at least 20 times as the offenses continued until she was 16.

Jurors unanimously convicted the couple after deliberating for two days.

They also convicted Marke of four counts of indecent assault relating to a girl he abused when she was 15.

In interviews with police after the couple were arrested in 2017, Phythian, who was tried under her married name of Marke, told officers the allegations against her were “bull****”.

During four interviews about the allegations against her, she also suggested that her victim, now an adult, may have seen her intimate tattoo when she was in a locker room.

In her court testimony, Phythian described how she got a chance to act in films after being “spotted” at a martial arts competition in the United States.

She told jurors she ran a production company, had her own sportswear brand and had a relationship with Marke when she was 19.

Phythian’s film career peaked in 2016, the court heard, when she auditioned for and landed the role of “brown zealot” in Doctor Strange, which starred Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role.

Marke, from Ravenshead, Nottinghamshire, denied being attracted to older girls in their early teens.

He repeatedly collapsed on the witness stand as he denied sexually touching a victim and said the other complainant performed oral sex on him while he was drunk and she was 18.

He told the jury: “There was no apology. I apologized to my wife.

He also dismissed prosecution allegations that he and Phythian ‘encouraged threesomes’ when their victim was aged 13, 14 and 15, telling the jury: ‘That’s not the reality at all’ .

Following Wednesday’s verdicts, Judge Mark Watson remanded both defendants pending an afternoon hearing to decide their bail status and when they will be released. should be condemned.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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