Hollywood star and husband face prison for sex abuse of underage girls

A Hollywood film star and her husband embraced each other and wept when they told they face a ‘considerable period in custody’ for sexually abusing two teenage girls.

Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 2:59 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 3:58 pm

Nottingham Crown Court heard that Zara Marke, who starred with Benedict Cumberbatch in Doctor Strange, plied the teen with rum in a three-year reign of terror.

Along with husband Victor, the 36-year-old abused the girl ‘once or twice a month’ and threatened her to keep her quiet.

Martial arts and taekwondo ‘master’ Victor, aged 59, had sex with the schoolgirl about 20 times on different occasions.

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Victor Marke and actress Zara Marke, arrive at Nottingham Crown Court, April 28 2022.

The couple were found guilty of 14 counts of sexual activity, while Victor was convicted of four further charges of indecent assault against a second teen.

A jury took about eight hours to return unanimous guilty verdicts following a six-week trial at Nottingham Crown Court.

Sentencing was adjourned until Monday, May 16.

Barrister James Varley said Zara, of Taurus Close, Mansfield, has been on bail for five years and asked Judge Mark Watson if bail could be extended so she can sort out her business affairs.

But the judge remanded her in custody and told the pair they face a ‘considerable period in custody’.

The couple were found guilty of 14 counts of sexual activity, while Victor, of Mavis Avenue, Ravenshead, was convicted of four further charges of indecent assault against a second teen.

The jury previously heard Zara Marke’s current business interests included running the Personal Best Academy martial arts school, on The Broadway, Mansfield, as well as owning an entertainment and production firm.

Her film career began after she took part in a martial arts tournament in the US, and she began ‘working her way up the ladder’ by taking part in Guinness World Record attempts on Sky TV, and did ‘lots of stunt work’.

As well as Doctor Strange, she has also starred in other martial arts action movies such as Tribal: Get out Alive, and presented Martial Art Road Show, a 12-part documentary road trip.

Following her arrest in March 2017, she told police: “I am not a paedophile or a rapist, nor is Victor. I just feel sick right now and angry."

The court heard how the teen would regularly stay with the pair at their home when the abuse started.

She told police how she was given rum before being asked by Zara - also a martial arts expert - if she wanted to play ‘dares’.

The actress then began performing a sex act on her husband before asking the victim to do the same.

The girl claimed he then ‘took it in turns’ to have sex with them both, and said he also filmed the abuse, telling the court it was an attempt to re-create the pornography the couple watched.

Giving evidence, she told the jury: “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.”

The court was told Victor used his position of trust to ‘satisfy his sexual urges’ alongside his wife.

The trial also heard graphic details of their sex life, which included filming themselves having sex, taking part in swinging sessions and using a wide variety of sex aids

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