Apr 10, 2016

Inside the lair where cult leader imprisoned his daughter and brainwashed his followers

FROZEN in time, this is the cluttered council flat where Maoist cult leader Aravindan Balakrishnan imprisoned his daughter and brainwashed his followers.
FROZEN in time, this is the cluttered council flat where Maoist cult leader Aravindan Balakrishnan imprisoned his daughter and brainwashed his followers.

Sunday Express
April 10, 2016

These exclusive pictures from inside the property were taken last week, the first time anyone had stepped inside since the police raid 18 months ago.

They provide the first glimpse of what life was like in the secretive sect before the 75-year-old leader was jailed for a string of sexual assaults and violence.

In the cramped bedroom Balakrishnan shared with his wife Chandra, stacks of books, magazine and newspaper articles are piled between two single beds.

One is The Strange Death Of David Kelly which concludes that rather than suicide the Government’s respected weapons expert, found dead in woods near his home in 2003, was most likely murdered.

Elsewhere in the three-bedroom flat in Brixton, south London, a rainbow bedspread, posters of dogs and cats and cutout dinosaurs glued on to a wardrobe show how Balakrishnan’s daughter Rosie was kept in a perpetual childlike state, even though she had turned 30.

"Aravindan is 75 and should be with friends and family" - Josephine Herivel

The sparsely decorated flat has few mod cons. There is only one television set, an old model with a 14-inch screen, and no cooker or washing machine.

Balakrishnan, dubbed Comrade Bala, was jailed for 23 years in January for child cruelty, false imprisonment, four counts of rape, six counts of indecent assault and two counts of assault.

His wife Chandra, 67, also arrested but later released without charge, continues to support her husband and visits him at Wandsworth prison twice a month.

Speaking outside her former home, to which she returned for the first time since the raid, she said: “He’s lost a lot of weight but his spirit is starting to lift a little. I think he’s been in complete shock at what has happened over the past few months. He is still numb, to be honest.

The 75-year-old leader was jailed for a string of sexual assaults and violence

“When I last saw him he told me that he had been taking classes in Hinduism. He is sharing a cell with a 73-year-old man. They have a television in the cell and Aravindan watches the evening news most days. He also reads newspapers to keep in touch with the outside world.”

Balakrishnan set up The Workers’ Institute of Marxism-Leninism Mao Zedong Thought in 1974 to plan for a Chinese invasion of Britain ordered by Chairman Mao.

His daughter Rosie, now living in the north of England under a new name, was born after a fling with follower Sian Davies, who later died after falling from an upstairs window of a flat in London in 1997.

In court Rosie told how her father kept her under virtual house arrest for her entire life. She never went to school and said she was not allowed to have friends.

Two years ago she secretly contacted an anti-slavery charity who in turn alerted the police. In November 2013, the Metropolitan Police Human Trafficking Unit swooped on the ground-floor Brixton flat.

Rosie, now called Katy Morgan-Davies, was rescued along with Aisha Wahab, 69, and 57-year-old Josephine Herivel. During the investigation, officers became aware of allegations of sexual abuse made by two un-named women and violence against Rosie.

However Ms Herivel, the daughter of Bletchley Park codebreaker John Herivel, claims Balakrishnan is the victim of a miscarriage of justice. After accompanying Chandra to the flat to clear out some of their belongings, she said: “The police have wrecked the place.

“Before all the boxes and folders were stashed away neatly, now they’re all over the floor. This was our home and they’ve shown a complete lack of respect.

“Aravindan is 75 and should be with friends and family, not in prison for something he did not commit.”

Although originally a three-bedroom property, the couple converted the sitting room into a fourth bedroom. In it are thousands of newspaper and magazine articles from around the world, some 10 years old, in folders and boxes.

In Rosie’s room old clothes lie scattered on top of the bed. Among the garments were two polystyrene discs cut from pizza boxes.

On one is a sketch of Harry Potter villain Lord Voldemort with the messages “Worship me or die” and “I love ME only and I hate doves”.

On the other is a reference to neighbour Marius Feneck, whom she is said to have had a fling with. “I love MF & I hate all dark bullies and dark witches.”

The flat is to be re-let by Lambeth Council. Chandra said: “I’d like to come back here because it was my home for eight years. The police have no problem with it but the council has blocked the move and are finding me another property nearby.”


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