The leader of a Maoist “cult” believed he would rule the world, and thought of himself as a cross between Aragorn from Lord of the Rings, and Harry from the Harry Potter franchise.
A court in London heard testimony from his daughter, who cannot be named, via videolink. She alleged that she was held captive for 30 years and treated as a slave, suffering frequent abuse.
75-year-old Aravindan Balakrishnan only allowed her to read books by Tolkein and J.K Rowling because he identified with some of their leading characters, namely Harry Potter and Aragorn.
Balakrishnan’s intention had one massive drawback, however, in that his daughter associated him with the evil characters from the stories, seeing herself as Frodo and Harry, and wanting to fight back.
She told the court:
He thought Harry Potter was like him, because Harry sounded like Ara (Aravindan).
He allowed it because it fitted in with the way he wanted me to agree with his ideas.
He saw Aragorn (from Lord of the Rings) like himself – the return of the King.
His enemy Sauron was like America and the West, and they would get destroyed.
I actually began to see he is like Voldemort and Sauron. He wanted us to be like the Death Eaters in Harry Potter and the Black Riders in Lord Of The Rings, which is agreeing with everything he said without question and not having a mind of your own.
Readings those books I felt like I was Harry and Frodo, all those little people with no power fighting against this dark lord who seems like he is invincible.
Yet the little tiny people, with their strength they manage to get to change that and destroy that. I felt so inspired by this, that’s why I loved them so much.”
The court also heard that the girl was denied knowledge of who her real mother was, being told she was a ‘waif found by the wayside’.
Her mother, Sian Davies, was a member of the London-based commune, and would reportedly treat her daughter cruelly before she eventually committed suicide, jumping out of a window on Christmas eve 1996.
Balakrishnan faces charges including seven counts of indecent assault, four of rape, three of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, one of cruelty to a child under 16, and one of false imprisonment.
The trial continues.
An NCTJ Journalist with an MA in Sports Journalism, Kieron is an experienced social media journalist who has worked in the industry since 2015. His experience includes work with ITN, the MEN, WISH/WIRE/TOWER FM, and 8:50 Sports Digest… not forgetting his time at ASDA.