Doctor Strange star Zara Phythian has been jailed for eight years for horrific child sex offences.
The Marvel actress was appearing at Nottingham Crown Court for sentencing on Monday after being found guilty previously of the historical sexual abuse of a girl while she was aged between 13 and 15.
Phythian’s husband, Victor Marke, was sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment for jointly abusing the same victim, as well as the indecent assault of a second girl.
Judge Mark Watson told the couple that he believed the start of the sexual abuse of the joint victim had been pre-planned as he passed sentence, writes the Mirror.
He 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.”
Speaking during the sentencing, the judge said that Phythian’s “deviance” was shaped by an influence that Marke had on her from an early age.
The couple, who got together near Zara’s 20th birthday and later married, both vehemently denied the accusations at their trial.
They were jointly convicted on 14 charges of sexual activity when the victim was in her early teens.
The stuntwoman and martial arts champion turned 37 last week, the day before the pair were convicted of carrying out multiple sexual acts on the girl, who they told not to tell anyone.
She used her married name of Marke for the court hearing.
The couple’s depraved sex acts with the child, now an adult, happened before fourth dan black belt Phythian hit the big time.
Nottingham-born and bred Zara Marke, of Mansfield, was spotted in America after she won four national title belts in the same tournament.
She then launched her film career, achieving worldwide fame with the role of Brunette Zealot in Marvel’s Doctor Strange movie.
Ahead of their sentencing, prosecutor Ahmed Hossain QC read out the victim impact statements.
On behalf of the first victim, who is concerned in the charges relating to Victor Marke only, Mr Hossain said that after having training for safeguarding, she realised every example of grooming applied to her.
The second statement was then read out to the court, which detailed the impact on the victim that Marke and Phythian jointly abused.
She said in her statement: “you robbed me of my innocence”, “corrupted my development”.
“You showed you liked a very advanced naughty side that satisfied your sexual urges,” she said. She also spoke about feeling scared and intimidated by them.
She decided she did not want to continue to be “[their] puppet”.
The statement described more about the impact on her health, two years of turmoil and how she realised she was abused.
“I have become an adult now. All the pain, anger and disgust and shame I felt is now on you. Both of you”.
Get the latest celebrity gossip and telly news sent straight to your inbox. Sign up to our weekly Showbiz newsletter here.