Cult leader’s daughter escape ‘inspired by Harry Potter books’ – BBC News

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Image caption Aravindan Balakrishnan is accused of holding his daughter prisoner at a commune in south London

A woman allegedly held captive in a commune for 30 years was inspired to escape by the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter books, a court was told.

She was beaten and threatened by her Maoist cult father but fought back against his control after reading the books, jurors heard.

Aravindan Balakrishnan, 75, let her read the novels because he identified with the characters, it was claimed.

He denies cruelty to a child under 16 and false imprisonment.

Southwark Crown Court heard there were no records the woman was taken to a doctor, except for her inoculations, or had attended school while living at the south London commune.

Anxiety disorder

She suffers from chronic post traumatic stress disorder and low self esteem, and was also found to have gone through a high degree of emotional trauma.

Prosecutor Peter Clement said: “Post traumatic stress disorder is a recognised mental disorder, namely an anxiety disorder caused by a very stressful, frightening event.

“From birth (the woman) never spent a night away from the collective until 25 October 2013.”

She was also found to have a Vitamin D deficiency and probable type one diabetes, he added.

The accused’s name was not on his daughter’s birth certificate but he was confirmed to be the father after DNA tests.

Mr Balakrishnan, from Enfield, also denies seven counts of indecent assault and four counts of rape against two women during the 1970s and 1980s, and also pleaded not guilty to three counts of actual bodily harm.

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

The trial continues.

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