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WARNING: STORY CONTAINS DETAILS ABOUT SEXUAL ASSAULT
“Doctor Strange” actress Zara Phythian has reportedly been jailed for eight years after being convicted of sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl.
Her husband, Victor Marke, was jailed for 14 years over similar charges, according to reports.
Following her sentencing, Phythian’s family shouted, “We love you, Zara.” She responded, “I’m innocent. I love you all.”
Judge Mark Watson did emphasize that he believed Marke was the “driving force” behind the abuse.
Zara Phythian attends the launch event for “Doctor Strange” at Westminster Abbey on Oct. 24, 2016 in London. (Anthony Harvey)
He told Phythian during her sentencing: “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.”
He continued: “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 and Marke were found guilty Wednesday of having sex with a 13-year-old girl, the BBC reported. U.K.’s Nottingham Crown Court convicted the two on all 14 charges of sexual activity.
The couple had been accused of sexually abusing the girl from 2005 until 2008.
Zara Phythian attends a reception to celebrate the release of “Doctor Strange” on Oct. 24, 2016, in London. (David M. Benett/Getty Images for Walt Disney Studios)
“I knew it was wrong, but I just didn’t know how to get out of the situation or say anything,” the victim said in court, according to the BBC.
“I just did whatever they asked me to do. They made it seem like I was some naughty kid and they were helping me out.”
The actress’ husband Marke was also found guilty on four counts of indecent assault against a different woman. The charges stemmed from incidents occurring between 2002 and 2003.
According to the woman, Marke began sexually abusing her at the age of 16, the Nottingham Post reported.
“I want to thank the two victims who have showed great courage in coming forward and talking about their ordeal,” senior investigating officer Parminder Dhillon said, according to the Nottingham Post. “Although no punishment handed down by a court can undo the lifelong damage caused to them, I do hope they take some degree of comfort from the knowledge that justice has now been done.”
“I hope this case serves as a reminder to others – that we treat all allegations of sexual abuse with the utmost seriousness and that, even in cases where offenses occurred many years ago, we will thoroughly investigate, and we will do everything in our power to bring perpetrators to justice.”