Evil Maoist cult leader pleads guilty after imprisoning daughter for 30 years
The daughter of an evil Maoist cult boss has told how he kept her prisoner during a reign of abuse that lasted 30 years.
She was hidden from the world and routinely beaten by warped “Comrade Bala”Aravindan Balakrishnan . The 33-year-old said: “I felt like a caged bird.”
Balakrishnan, 75, of North London, was on Friday convicted of a string of charges including rape and assault.
Hidden away from the outside world, routinely beaten, abused and treated as a slave, the daughter of Balakrishnan believed death would be her only release.
And the 33-year-old has told how she was stopped from escaping the home where the Maoist cult chief kept her prisoner with threats of death squads, mind control machines and being struck by lightning.
The woman, who we are calling Fran as her identity is protected, finally plucked up courage to flee her father’s clutches – but once on the outside she was faced with a world she had no idea how to exist in.
Fran spoke as 75-year-old Balakrishnan was convicted of a string of offences including rape, indecent assault, assault, child cruelty and false imprisonment and now faces the prospect of dying in jail.
Known as “Comrade Bala”, he kept his daughter captive for 30 years from birth. But Fran did not even know he was her dad or that her mum was fellow cult member Sian Davies – who died in mysterious circumstances in 1997.
Speaking of her lonely incarceration at the hands of her brutal dad and a handful of his brainwashed followers, she told how her health was ailing due to undiagnosed diabetes and she regularly collapsed.
Fran said if she had not fled she “would be dead”. She added: “I was so ill I was fainting. And if I hadn’t died from diabetes I would have committed suicide because I just couldn’t bear feeling like that any more. I’d just had enough. I didn’t want to live like an animal any more.”
Fran told how she was so alone she had imaginary friends and would even talk to the taps for company. She would sit at her window and cry as she watched children playing outside but was not allowed to join in. She said: “I wished I was one of them.
“I felt like a caged bird with clipped wings. Like a fly in a spider’s web. Just really helpless and powerless.”
The victim finally escaped Balakrishnan’s communist “collective” at Brixton, South London, in 2013 with the aid of a charity.
But up until that point her life had been controlled to such an extent she could not cross a road unaided, use keys or pick up goods from a shop for herself.
Describing her first steps as a free woman, Fran said: “It was a beautiful feeling, there is no feeling in the world quite like that. At the same time it was scary because I just kept thinking, ‘What if they come around the corner and catch me?’”
Fran did manage to flee once before, but was returned home by police.
She found out Sian was her mum after the 44-year-old died. She fell from a window at the cult’s home in 1996 and passed away in hospital eight months later.
Fran, who has spent the past two years trying to trace her family, said: “It feels so sad. My gran died in 2005 and she never got to know she had a granddaughter. For all that time I had been praying someone would come and take me away.
“And to know she was there all that time and didn’t know I existed is just terrible. It could have been different.
“I missed out on family. I never even knew who my mother was until after she died. My uncle, my grandparents never even knew I existed. I was a non-person, no one knew I existed. I missed out on personal relationships.
“No boyfriends, best friends or work colleagues. I was also deprived as having a family of my own. I had no chance to find a husband or have children.”
It emerged on Friday, police may reopen the investigation into Sian’s death in the wake of Balakrishnan’s guilty verdicts at Southwark Crown Court in South East London. An open verdict was recorded at her inquest.
A spokesman for South London coroner Dr Andrew Harris said he would “consider whether there is fresh evidence which should be brought to decide whether to quash the former inquisition and order a new inquest”.
Scotland Yard said they have looked again at their file from the time and do not consider it a homicide. But Sian’s cousin, Eleri Morgan, 66, said: “I want justice for her. There was an open verdict but now we know more.”
Despite Fran’s miserable ordeal under her dad’s iron fisted rule, she astonishingly told how she forgives him and the wicked followers who spent so many years dishing out abuse to her.
She said: “I believe justice has definitely been done. I am very happy with the verdict. At the end of the day, he is still my dad. I forgive all of them because to be angry and full of anger and hatred is no solution.
“I believe in what Nelson Mandela said, that if you hold on to that anger, hatred and bitterness then you are still in prison. It is no way to live.”
One of the cult members Josephine Herivel told how she helped Fran escape. But the 59-year-old denies she herself was held against her will.
She added: “I wanted to be in the collective. I could have left any time. I only left to help Fran. She is like my daughter. I love her.”
Balakrishnan, of Enfield, North London, will be sentenced in January.
He was remanded in custody. Judge Deborah Taylor told him to “expect a substantial custodial sentence”.