Cult leader who raped followers and imprisoned daughter to be sentenced


A Maoist cult leader will be sentenced today for raping two of his followers and keeping his daughter a prisoner in the commune for 30 years.

Aravindan Balakrishnan, 75, known as Comrade Bala, carried out a "brutal" campaign of violence and "sexual degradation" against the women over several decades.

He brainwashed his followers into thinking he had God-like powers, and invented a supernatural force known as "Jackie" who, he said, could trigger natural disasters if his will was flouted.

After fathering a daughter with one of his acolytes, he kept her a prisoner in their south London home for three decades.

Beaten, banned from singing nursery rhymes, going to school or making friends, his daughter described herself as a "shadow woman" who was kept like a "caged bird".

Balakrishnan, of Enfield, north London, will be sentenced today at London's Southwark Crown Court.

Jurors found him guilty of six counts of indecent assault and four counts of rape.

He was also convicted of two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm (ABH), cruelty to a child under 16, and false imprisonment.

Judge Deborah Taylor said Balakrishnan faces a "substantial custodial sentence".

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