Dr Strange actress Zara Marke and husband ‘abused girl for 3 years’

A Hollywood actress carried out a series of sexual assaults on a young girl alongside her husband, a court heard yesterday.

Zara Marke, who appeared in the 2016 Marvel film Doctor Strange with Benedict Cumberbatch, and husband Victor allegedly targeted the teenager between 2005 and 2008 – with the abuse starting when she was 13.

Jurors were told that on the first occasion the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was plied with rum at the couple’s home before being “dared” by Marke, 36, to perform a sex act on her husband.

It was claimed the Markes abused her “once or twice a month” for the next three years, and urged her “not to tell anyone”.

Camera IconOn set: Zara Phythian also known as Zara Marke, center. Credit: instagram/instagram

Nottingham Crown Court heard that alongside her acting career, the Markes were sports coaches who “commanded admiration and respect within the martial arts world”.

But prosecutor Ahmed Hossain QC said Victor Marke, a taekwondo “master”, used his position of trust to “satisfy his sexual urges” in targeting the girl – with his wife acting “as part of that process”.

They are jointly charged with 14 counts of sexual activity with a child, which they deny.

Jurors were shown a video interview their alleged victim gave to police.

Benedict Cumberbatch pictured with Zara Phythian also known as Zara Marke.
Camera IconBenedict Cumberbatch pictured with Zara Phythian also known as Zara Marke. Credit: instagram/instagram

In it, she described how she would stay at the Markes’ then home in Arnold, Nottingham, where the pair would “let her drink”, even though she was just 13.

It was there, she said, that the abuse began.

She told officers: “It was Captain Morgan’s Dark Rum. My mom did not like me drinking. I was not allowed to drink.

“Zara asked me if I wanted to play a game of “dare”, and started (performing a sex act on) Victor. She asked me to do the same.

“Then he took it in turns to have sex with each of us.

“’I just tried to copy Zara’s reactions and emotions, the noises she was making. I had never received much attention from boys. I think I just liked the attention. It just went on from there.”

Mads Mikkelsen pictured with Zara Phythian also known as Zara Marke.
Camera IconMads Mikkelsen pictured with Zara Phythian also known as Zara Marke. Credit: instagram/instagram

The alleged victim, now in her late 20s, claimed the sexual activity continued “once or twice a month”’ until she was 16 – with Victor Marke, 59, asking her to record him and his wife on some occasions, and filming her on others.

She added: “I knew it was wrong, but I did not know how to get out of the situation, or say anything.

“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. I just felt like there was no way out. They told me not to say anything.”

Victor Marke and Zara Phythian (Marke).
Camera IconVictor Marke and Zara Phythian (Marke). Credit: Facebook/Facebook

Victor Marke is also charged with four further allegations, all denied, of indecent assault on another teenage girl between 2002 and 2003.

This alleged victim told police she was “groomed and sexually touched”.

She said he touched her, kissed her face, and had sex with her when she turned 16.

Mr Hossain said: “Both of those defendants commanded admiration and respect within the martial arts world and the prosecution case is that Victor Marke groomed these two separate complainants when they were children and that he used his position of trust and authority to make them feel special so that he could satisfy his sexual urges.

“And, it is the prosecution’s case, that Zara Marke was part of that process and Zara Marke acted, as is alleged, with Victor Marke.”

As well as being cast in Doctor Strange as the character Brunette Zealout, Zara Marke has also appeared in a string of other films under her stage name Zara Phythian.

The trial continues.


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