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“Doctor Strange” actress Zara Phythian and her martial arts instructor husband have been convicted in a British court of multiple counts of child sex abuse.
Phythian—cast as a “brunette zealot” in the 2016 Marvel movie—was convicted of 14 counts of sexual activity with a child after prosecutors said she and her husband Victor Marke repeatedly sexually abused a teenage girl, starting when the victim was just 13, according to the BBC.
Marke, 59, was convicted of the same 14 counts and an additional four counts of indecently assaulting a child in relation to abusing another 15-year-old girl.
The couple hugged and Marke could be heard crying after the guilty verdicts were handed down Wednesday in the Nottingham Crown Court.
They are scheduled to be sentenced on May 16.
"Both of you know the sentence I pass on 16 May is likely to be measured by a considerable period of custody,” Judge Mark Watson said before the spouses were taken into custody and led away.
The couple first met years ago when Marke was Phythian’s martial arts instructor.
According to prosecutors, the pair were dating when they had a series of “threesomes” with the 13-year-old child, beginning in 2005 and continuing over a three-year period.
Marke admitted to having sexual activity with the teen on one occasion, but insisted that the girl had been 18 years old at the time. He said that Phythian, whom he married in 2015, had not been involved.
Phythian, 37, was referred to in court under her married name Zara Marke. She denied any sexual activity with the girl.
Before her arrest, she had been a successful stuntwoman, martial artist and actress. In addition to “Doctor Strange,” she also had roles in numerous B-movies, according to IMDB.
Her career as well as the couple’s sex life had been a focal point of the trial, according to The Nottingham Post.
After the verdicts were handed down, Nicole Hepburn, with the Crown Protection Service (CPS), commended the victims for coming forward.
“Both defendants have denied their actions, instead blaming the victims and accusing them of lying,” she said. “Thanks to their evidence, given clearly and credibly in court, the Markes themselves have been exposed as the true liars.”
Detective Constable Paula Wilson, of the Nottinghamshire Police, described the case as a “complex investigation” that included a large amount of digital data and witnesses.
“I am delighted that this case has now concluded and relieved for the victims that justice has been served and the jury has come to the decision it has,” Wilson said, according to the local news outlet.
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