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'Doctor Strange' star Zara Phythian who was convicted of sexually abusing teen girl is now a prison cleaner

Zara Phythian, who starred in Marvel’s 'Doctor Strange' along with Benedict Cumberbatch, is in a cleaning course behind bars
UPDATED OCT 23, 2022
Zara Phythian and her husband abused a girl in her early teens between 2005 and 2008 (zaraphythian/Instagram)
Zara Phythian and her husband abused a girl in her early teens between 2005 and 2008 (zaraphythian/Instagram)

LONDON, ENGLAND: 'Doctor Strange' actress Zara Phythian, who was sentenced to 8 years for sexually abusing a girl aged between 13 and 15 with her husband Victor Marke, is now a prison cleaner. Pythian reportedly enrolled in an industrial cleaning course, hoping it will find her a job when her sentence ends. Marke was also accused of an indecent assault of a second girl and was sentenced to 14 years in jail.

The 'Marvel' actress allegedly gave rum to the victim and asked her if she wanted to "play dare" with her husband. Marke, 59, a martial arts instructor, then allegedly went to have sex with the schoolgirl around 20 times on different occasions. The married couple was accused of abusing the teenager "once or twice a month" over a three-year period from 2005.


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Phythian is serving her sentence at Foston Hall Prison in Derbyshire, with notorious inmates such as Maxine Carr. Carr was dubbed 'the most hated woman in Britain' after she covered up for murderer Ian Huntley and mother Karen Matthews, accused of faking the kidnapping of her own daughter.

Phythian's father Andy visits her twice every month. He told The Mirror, "She's coping surprisingly well. They've put her on an industrial cleaning course. If you did it on the outside it would cost you £5,000 to get the certification. A chosen few are selected to help reflect their good behavior. Hopefully, it will come in useful when she gets out."

The alleged victims, who are now adults, reported the abuse to police years after it took place. "I think they saw a vulnerability in me and preyed on that," one victim said in a recorded police interview. Prosecutor Ahmed Hossain QC read out the victim statements ahead of their sentencing. The victim reportedly said that the couple "robbed" her of her innocence and "corrupted" her development.

The girl alleged that Marke "took it in turns" to have sex with them both. The abuse continued until she was 18, she claimed. "I have become an adult now. All the pain, anger and disgust, and shame I felt is now on you. Both of you," the victim said.

Judge Mark Watson said in court that he believed the beginning of the abuse had been 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. This could only have been a ruse agreed in advance," he said. "Most people have held, and continue to hold you in high esteem. That's due to the positive impact of your work [as martial arts instructors]."

"Whilst that may help in mitigation, that is also why you were able to groom and corrupt the victims in this case and why you got away abusing them for so long," the judge said, adding, "Both of you exposed her to sex acts. You showed her how you liked it and she described it as a 'very advanced, dirty, naughty side'"

The judge said that the victim had not hit puberty yet and revealed "much of the sexual behavior" was video recorded. "Each of you shares responsibility. Your offending involved multiple types of sex acts and more importantly, you offended together," he said. He explained that Phythian's sentence is shorter because he believes her husband "besotted" her and shaped her "deviance" from an early age. "You had been the focus of his attention. Your relationship started at a time when you were young," the judge said. "None of this excuses what you did, you may have done them to fulfill Victor Marke's urges but you still chose to play your part."

Phythian was found guilty of 14 sexual offenses while Marke was found guilty of 18 counts of sexual abuse. Both the suspects denied the accusations against them.