Maoist activist Aravindan Balakrishnan
Maoist activist Aravindan Balakrishnan arrives at courtGetty Images

The leader of a Maoist cult sexually assaulted two of his followers and imprisoned his daughter in their London commune for 30 years, a court has heard. Aravindan Balakrishnan, 75, known as Comrade Bala, allegedly subjected two of his victims to violent sexual degradation for 13 years, and dominated his daughter physically and emotionally for 30 years, "controlling every sphere of her life".

Prosecutor Rosina Cottage QC told London's Southwark Crown Court: "In order to bend them to his will he used mental and physical dominance, violence and sexual degradation.

"In relation to [his daughter], he controlled every sphere of her life to the extent that she was unable, either emotionally or physically, to leave his influence until she was 30 and ill with diabetes. She had no independent life."

Bala denies seven counts of indecent assault and four counts of rape against two women during the 1970s and 1980s.

He also denies counts of actual bodily harm, cruelty to a child under 16 and false imprisonment. None of his victims can be named for legal reasons.

Jurors were told that Bala started a Communist commune in Brixton in the 1970s, committed to the overthrow Britain's "fascist state". However many devotees eventually deserted him, and he was left with just six followers, all female.

"One was his wife Chandra, but she and the others had all been so dominated and brainwashed to the extent that they believed that he was all powerful and all-seeing," said Cottage.

"The atmosphere within the collective was controlled by the defendant and his moods. Each woman lived a life of violence, fear, isolation and confinement."

She alleged that Bala launched a series of sex attacks against the women, while his daughter, who was born into the cult, was beaten and prevented from going to school or meeting friends, and barely left the house.

Bala was arrested in 2014, after the final victim escaped the cult.

The trial continues.