NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND – Actress Zara Phythian, whose most notable role was her appearance in the 2016 film Doctor Strange, along with husband Victor Marke were reportedly found guilty of grooming and sexually abusing a young girl during the mid-2000s.
Back in March of 2017, Phythian and Marke were arrested for the grooming and sexual abuse of a then-13-year-old girl that began in 2005 and lasted until 2008. The now-adult victim testified before the Nottingham Crown Court that Phythian and Marke sexually abused her approximately 20 times during the three years, sometimes filming the encounters.
When the couple were initially arrested years earlier, Marke told detectives while being questioned about the sexual abuse of the victim that “If you’re trying to say I’m a pedophile, I’m not.” At the time, Marke would only admit to detectives to having had consensual sex with the victim after she’d turned 18.
During Phythian’s initial post-arrest interview years earlier, she called the allegations against her “bullshit.”
Marke was apparently an accomplished martial arts instructor at the time of the abuse, which is how he wound up meeting his wife who would later go on to perform stunt work and acting.
Senior Crown Prosecutor Nicole Hepburn asserted during the trial that Marke had used his position as a respected martial arts instructor to exploit young girls, with Phythian enabling and participating in the abusive acts.
“Victor Marke ruthlessly took advantage of the age and vulnerability of these girls, as well as his status as an admired coach. He made them feel special and listened to and then abused them. Zara [Phythian] similarly exploited her position to perpetrate child abuse.”
Prosecutors noted in their case against Phythian and Marke that the now-convicted pedophiles would engage in “threesomes” with the victim, with Phythian coaxing the child with alcohol at times and egging the intoxicated victim to “play dare” with her and her husband. Apparently, the two pedophiles would also urge the victim to “not tell anyone” about the illicit encounters.
Marke had claimed during the trial that there was only a solitary act of sexual abuse against the victim, further alleging that his wife Phythian was not involved. Phythian also proclaimed to have never touched the child, as well.
However, clearly the testimony from the two pedophiles did not resonate with the jury, as 37-year-old Phythian was found guilty of 14 sexual offenses while her 59-year-old husband was found guilty of 18 sexual offenses. Four of the counts Marke was found guilty of related to another victim he sexually abused between 2002 and 2003, according to reports.
At the time of the trial, both Phythian and Marke were out of jail on bond. When the guilty verdicts were read out in court, the two pedophiles reportedly hugged each other in the courtroom while Marke broke out in tears.
Judge Mark Watson informed the two pedophiles that they’ll be sentenced later in May after remanding them into custody, saying, “Both of you know the sentence I pass on 16 May is likely to be measured by a considerable period of custody.”