Nov 15, 2015

Woman 'persuaded by police worker to call Maoist father after escape'

November 13, 2015
Belfast Telegraph

The daughter held prisoner by her Maoist father escaped from him after 22 years - but was "persuaded" by a police worker to call him because it was a bank holiday, a court heard.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, lived a life of subjugation and oppression at the south London commune, routinely beaten, threatened and banned from going out and mixing with the outside world, it is alleged.

Aravindan Balakrishnan, 75, known as Comrade Bala, even threatened his daughter with death after she revealed she had a crush on former mayor of London Ken Livingstone, London's Southwark Crown Court heard.

Driven to despair, she attempted to flee this tyranny and ran away in May 2005 and went to a police station for help, the court heard.

Prosecutor Rosina Cottage QC said she had left home "intending never to go back".

She told jurors "She was fed up of being a non-person and so just ran away. She packed her things secretly and went away."

With "nowhere to go" and no friends, she was eventually directed to a police station.

Ms Cottage said: "It was scary because she had never before been out on her own. She never learnt to cross a road. Never learnt any of the things we take completely for granted.

"She arrived at a police station and spoke to a woman called Donna, but did not tell her of the violence and only said she was running away because of the oppression.

"Donna did not know what to do - it was a bank holiday and there was nowhere for her to go."

She was "persuaded" to call Balakrishnan, who collected her from the police station amid promises that things would improve, jurors heard.

But he later slapped his daughter and branded her a "police agent" and "traitor", the court was told.

She only managed to finally escape from the commune eight years later, in October 2013, with the help of the Freedom Charity, the court heard.

She left her "abusers and tormentors" a letter in which she told of her torment at being "caged up like a wild animal".

She wrote: "There are no words to describe the extreme hurt and anger I feel about the totally inhumane way you have treated me.

"Chained me up like a prisoner, controlling every aspect of my life and controlling everything for me with absolutely no regards for my feelings.

"I've been cursed, insulted, mocked, denigrated, excluded, beaten up, caged up like a wild animal, deprived of what really matters to me, (and no I do not mean material things), presumed upon, imposed upon - the list is endless."

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 ABH, cruelty to a child under 16 and false imprisonment.

None of his alleged victims can be named for legal reasons.

The trial continues.

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