Dr Strange actor Zara Phythian and husband Victor Marke jailed for child sex abuse

Dr Strange actress Zara Phythian has been jailed for eight years at Nottingham Crown Court for the historical sexual abuse of a young girl.

Phythian’s husband Victor Marke was sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment for jointly abusing the same victim - who was aged between 13 and 15, as well as the indecent assault of a second girl.

Zara Phythian, who is 37-years-old, is known for Accident Man 2 (2022), Tribal Get Out Alive (2020) and Marvel's Doctor Strange (2016) where she starred with Benedict Cumberbatch.

The child was given rum and asked if she wanted to play a game of dare, the trial heard

The alleged abuse began when the child was given rum and Phythian, of Taurus Close, Mansfield, asked her if she wanted to play a game of "dare".

Phythian, an experienced martial artist, dared the child to join in a sex act with her and her husband Victor, 59, of Mavis Avenue, Ravenshead, the trial heard.

The victim, who cannot be named, told the court Marke made threats against her and ordered her to film some of the abuse at the hands of the "Jekyll and Hyde" couple.

Phythian denied having any sexual contact with the victim, who was able to describe a Chinese calligraphy tattoo the actress has near her private parts.

The victim was abused at least 20 times as the offences continued until she was 16, Nottingham court hears

The victim, who came forward after a separate complaint in 2016, described how Marke pretended to be asleep before joining in what she believed was pre-planned abuse alongside Phythian.

Passing sentence, Judge Mark Watson told the couple he believed the start of the sexual abuse of the joint victim had been pre-planned.

The judge told Marke: “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."

During the sentencing, the judge also said that Phythian’s "deviance" was shaped by the influence that Marke had on her from an early age.

Zara Phythian who has been jailed for eight years for the historical sexual abuse of a girl who was aged between 13 and 15 Credit: PA

Addressing Phythian, the judge added: "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."

But the judge added: “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."

As she was led away to the cells, Phythian waved at the public gallery, where a woman shouted: "I love you, Zara."

The 37-year-old, from Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, and Marke, 59, were told they will have to serve at least half their sentences before being considered for parole.