South London cult leader Comrade Bala dies in prison


hard-left cult leader who kept his own daughter captive for decades and sexually assaulted his followers has died in prison.

Aravindan Balakrishnan, 81, called himself Comrade Bala and dominated a small Maoist sect in Brixton who he convinced into thinking he had godlike powers.

The pensioner, who was jailed for 23 years in 2016, died in Dartmoor prison on Friday according to the prison service.

A Prison Service spokesperson said: “HMP Dartmoor prisoner Aravindan Balakrishnan died in custody on 8 April. The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman has been informed.”

At his trial, Balakrishnan was convicted of offences including child cruelty, false imprisonment and assault and jurors hears he had raped two of his followers.


Police raided the Brixton house that served as the cult’s HQ after a charity received a call from a woman who said she had been held prisoner for three decades.

Speaking at the time of the intitial arrests, Met Police officers said they had “never seen anything of this magnitude before” and described the three women they had released as “deeply traumatised”.

The Freedom Charity, which aims to advise and support victims of forced marriages or honour-based violence, got in touch with police after they received a call from one of the women after she had seen a television programme about forced marriages.

He set up the Workers’ Institute of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought in the 1970s in south London and told his followers that disobeying him would unleash supernatural forces and convinced them he could read their minds.

His daughter Katy Morgan-Davies waived her right to anonymity at the time of the trial to describer him as a “narcissist and a psychopath” who treated Stalin and Pol Pot as heroes.

She told a jury she had been beaten and banned from going to school or having any friends, saying: “I used to think, ‘God, if the whole world is going to be like this, what way out is there? How am I going to live? I cannot live in this.’

“So I used to think that the best way would be to die.”

Recommended For You