London

Cult leader tells of 'warfare machine called Jackie'

balakrishnan Image copyright Julia Quenzler for BBC
Image caption Aravindan Balakrishnan told the court "Jackie" had started to control his daughter

A communist accused of presiding over a cult in London has told a court he can "initiate" an "electronic satellite warfare machine" called Jackie.

Aravindan Balakrishnan, 75, denies charges including rape, indecent assault, false imprisonment and child cruelty.

He told Southwark Crown Court "Jackie" was invisible, but had been built by the Communist Party of China.

He blamed the machine for prompting his daughter to run away in May 2005.

"May Day is Jackie's birthday," he said.

"He did something to her obviously. He put some idea in her head."

'Made up fantasy'

Giving evidence at his trial for the first time, Mr Balakrishnan told Southwark Crown Court Jackie was an acronym for Jehova, Allah, Christ, Krishna, Immortal, Easwaran.

"It can pull your head out from your body," he said.

Mr Balakrishnan denied ever beating his daughter. The prosecution alleges he kept her hidden for 30 years.

"Most of what she says is made up fantasy," he said. "For her to say these things is really very brave. Well, it's not brave. It's very stupid."

He told the court he did not initially tell his daughter who her parents were as he thought she would "understand better" at a later age.

'No force involved'

Mr Balakrishnan earlier told the court he was the "focus of competition" between his female followers, saying a woman he is alleged to have sexually assaulted competed for his attention with the mother of his daughter.

He insisted that two women in the commune had "pushed" him to have sex, and strenuously objected to claims he had raped and beaten women living in his collective in Brixton.

He said they would compete for his attentions and that when one of the women performed oral sex on him "there was no force involved".

Mr Balakrishnan said he would occasionally "tap" her or shake her to keep her awake for political discussions, which would continue late into the night.

He said his views were grounded in the teachings of the Chinese revolutionary leader Chairman Mao which "meant almost everything to him".

Mr Balakrishnan, of Enfield, north London, denies seven counts of indecent assault and four counts of rape against two women during the 1970s and 1980s.

He also denies three counts of actual bodily harm, cruelty to a child under 16 and false imprisonment.

The trial continues.

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