British film actress Zara Phythian – who appeared in Doctor Strange alongside Benedict Cumberbatch – has been found guilty of grooming and sexually abusing a girl in tandem with her husband Victor Marke.
The latter was also found to have sexually abused another girl on his own.
The Times reports Phythian, who is 37, was found guilty of 14 sexual offences at Nottingham Crown Court while her husband, who is 59, was found guilty of 18.
The court heard the couple met when he was her martial arts instructor, and she went on to have a successful career in martial arts, as a stuntwoman, and actress.
When Victor Marke gave his evidence he admitted sexual activity with one of the girls but claimed she was 18 at the time.
The prosecution said he had engaged in numerous “threesomes” with the girl and Phythian, starting when the girl was 13.
The abuse was instigated after Phythian plied the girl with rum and asked if she wanted to “play dare” with her husband.
Jurors were told the actress performed a sex act on her husband, Victor Marke, which she invited the child to mimic.
The BBC reports after the initial incident, the couple abused the child up to twice a month for three years while urging her “not to tell anyone”.
The victim — now an adult — told the court she was abused around 20 times between 2005 and 2008. Some of the encounters were filmed, she said.
However, Marke claimed the sexual activity happened on only one occasion, and said Phythian was not involved.
When Phythian gave her evidence, she denied any kind of sexual activity with the girl.
Speaking after the guilty verdicts, Nicole Hepburn from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said the couple had been “exposed as the true liars.”
Marke and Phythian were in a relationship when they abused the girl and later married in 2015. She stood trial under her married name of Zara Marke.
The couple hugged each other in court as the barristers and judge discussed when they will be sentenced, and Marke could be heard crying, the Times reports.
They had been on bail throughout the trial, but Judge Mark Watson remanded them into custody after the guilty verdicts, and said he would sentence them on 16 May.
He told them: “Both of you know the sentence I pass on 16 May is likely to be measured by a considerable period of custody.”
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