Cult leader accepts daughter not allowed out alone from commune

BBC News/November 27, 2015

A communist cult leader accused of imprisoning his daughter for 30 years has admitted she was never allowed out alone from the south London commune.

Aravindan Balakrishnan, 75, of north London, told Southwark Crown Court "her upbringing was not like that".

But he denies charges including false imprisonment and child cruelty.

He also told the jury he had discouraged female members of the collective from hugging his daughter as "it will lead to lesbianism."

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

Giving evidence he said he was preparing his daughter, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, for a life outside the collective "when I thought she was able to cope."

Asked by prosecutor Rosina Cottage QC why his daughter had never played with other children while growing up, he said: "There wasn't any scope because she had so many things going on in the collective".
'Bring down to earth'

Mr Balakrishnan also admitted having written in one of his daughter's diaries that "wrong ideas can burn you to death".

"You have to bring her down to earth," he said.

He later said he was doing "mind emancipation work", but she kept accumulating the wrong ideas and "took pleasure in it".

Denying assaulting female members, including his daughter, he told the jury: "Beating them is not going to help cure them."

He also told the jury he was having sex with four female members of his collective in the 1980s.

"They were literally throwing themselves at me", he said.

Asked why he did not have a job, he said he worked running the collective and also "went out to the laundry."

But he agreed other members did work and said it was "the best way to train them and bring them up."

The trial continues.

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