Aravindan Balakrishnan convicted for false imprisonment, child cruelty and sexual offences spanning more than 30 years

04/12/2015

Aravindan Balakrishnan, 75, was convicted today at Southwark Crown Court for offences spanning almost 34 years. The offences were committed between 1980 and 2013 when Balakrishnan was the self-appointed leader of a communist group, which over the years became more comparable to a cult.

Baljit Ubhey OBE, CPS London Chief Crown Prosecutor, said: "Aravindan Balakrishnan used psychological and sexual oppression and violence to force his followers into believing he was a god.

"Balakrishnan would beat the women if they did something he did not like, or sometimes for no reason at all. He also subjected two of the women to sexual abuse, degradation and rape. The evidence of the mental control he had over these two victims made it clear that they did not have a free and open choice to consent to the sexual acts.

"Balakrishnan has robbed these women, including his own daughter, of a huge part of their lives. He beat and bullied them into submission and completely stripped away their free will.

"I would like to praise the victims for their courage in giving evidence in court. We were able to support them with special measures to give their best evidence and they have helped bring Balakrishnan to justice."

Background

The group began in the 1970s and attracted quite a few members, both women and men. However, interest dwindled and by the late '70s there were only six followers left - all women.

The defendant lived with his wife and the six women in various addresses around south London including Battersea, Brixton, Clapham Common and Tooting Bec.

He turned the women against each other and persuaded them to spy on each other and report back to him if the others did anything that he would not like. They were then beaten, shouted at and humiliated in front of the rest of the group.

One of the women in the group fell pregnant by the defendant and a baby girl was born in 1983. This child was brought up by the group, known as 'the collective', and was held captive by the defendant until she finally escaped aged 30 years old. She did not attend school, never had a doctor or dentist appointment and had very little interaction with anyone outside 'the collective'. There were years where she barely left the house at all.

The defendant had complete psychological control over his daughter, telling her that she would be killed if she left the house alone and that she would die if she ever did anything against him or even had a bad thought about him.

Convictions

Victim A (now aged 64)

  • One counts of indecent assault
  • Three counts of rape
  • One counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm

Balakrishnan was acquitted of one count of indecent assault and one count of assault occasioning ABH in relation to this victim

Victim B (now aged 64)

  • Five counts of indecent assault
  • One count of rape
  • One count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm

Victim C (now aged 32 and the defendant's daughter)

  • Cruelty to a person under 16 years
  • False Imprisonment