Marvel actress Zara Phythian has been jailed for eight years for horrific child sex offences.
Phythian’s husband Victor Marke, 59, was sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment for jointly abusing the same victim, as well as the indecent assault of a second girl.
Both will now sign the sex offenders’ register for life, and will be referred to the disclosure and barring service to prevent them working with children ever again, reports the Mirror.
The depraved couple were brought into the dock together for their sentencing on Monday morning after their remand into custody last week following their guilty verdicts.
Marke cried as he saw people in the public gallery and paced around the dock in a tracksuit.
Phythian took a seat and looked towards her restless husband. She smiled as she waved to someone in the public gallery.
The former Hollywood star wore her hair in a messy bun, and was dressed in a standard custody-issued grey top and bottoms. She had no make-up on and her face was pale and tear-streaked.
Passing sentence, Judge Mark Watson told the couple that he believed the start of the sexual abuse of the joint victim had been pre-planned.
The judge told Marke of Mavis Avenue, Ravenshead: “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.
The couple, who got together near Zara’s 20th birthday and later married, both vehemently denied the accusations at their trial, but were jointly convicted on 14 charges of sexual activity when the victim was in her early teens.
The stuntwoman and martial arts champion – who used her married name of Marke for the court hearing – 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.
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 Zara Phythian, of Taurus Close, Mansfield, was spotted in America when she won four national title belts in the same tournament, before branching off into her film career and achieving worldwide fame with the role of Brunette Zealot in Marvel’s Doctor Strange movie.
The shamed couple committed their shocking crimes on their victim prior to the actress finding fame.
This victim said in a recorded police interview: “I think they saw a vulnerability in me and preyed on that.”
What happened was her “deepest, darkest secret”, she told the court in her evidence from behind a curtain in the witness stand.
Victor Marke’s indecent assaults on the second victim started after she accidentally touched the pervert’s leg.
He touched her leg back on that occasion, before things progressed to Victor Marke kissing her on her lips and neck, causing a feeling of confusion, she had told police.
He touched her over and under her clothing and kissed her at other times, before he had sex with her when she was 16.
Ahead of their sentencing, prosecutor Ahmed Hossain QC read out brave victim impact statements.