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Cult leader 'took wire brush to rape victim's mind'

Aravindan Balakrishnan Image copyright PA
Image caption The court heard Aravindan Balakrishnan's followers believed he had the power of life or death over them

The leader of a Maoist cult used mind control to rape and abuse a female follower, a jury has heard.

The woman, 64, told Southwark Crown Court Aravindan Balakrishnan took a "wire brush to her brain" after she joined the group in the late 1970s.

She said the 75-year-old, of Enfield, had made her believe he "had the right over your mind and body".

Mr Balakrishnan denies charges including four counts of rape and seven of indecent assault.

The woman told the court Mr Balakrishnan "psychologically stripped" and "dehumanised" his followers to the point where they believed he had the power of life or death over them.

'Complete control'

She said the cult leader had been "very fond of hitting people around the head, especially the women" and it had not been possible to react.

"He had the right to let you breathe because he could put a finger on your throat and if he decided he wanted you dead, you would be dead," she told the court.

When asked by prosecutor Rosina Cottage QC if she ever refused to take part in the sex acts, the witness said she had not "because his authority was so complete, his control was so complete".

During an emotional testimony, the woman described how Mr Balakrishnan had created an atmosphere of paranoia and suspicion among the group.

She said he convinced followers they were surrounded by "fascist agents" and encouraged them to inform on one another.

"We all hated one another, there was never any sympathy", she said.

While giving evidence, the woman, who spoke from behind a screen and was unable to see Mr Balakrishnan, shouted out that she despised him.

"I know he's there and I want him to hear it because I loath him so much," she said.

The trial continues.

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