EXCLUSIVE I was born into a Maoist cult and held as a slave for 30 years by my brutish father Comrade Bala – and I’ve finally learned to forgive him: Woman shares her incredible true story

  • Watch Katy’s incredible life story in new episode of our YouTube series My Story 

The daughter of a Maoist cult leader who kept her as a slave for 30 years revealed today she has forgiven her father despite his psychological and physical bullying.

Katy Morgan-Davies was effectively kept prisoner in the bizarre cult’s house in Herne Hill, South London, and could not get to know her extended family or make friends.

The 40-year-old was the secret child of leader Aravindan Balakrishnan and one of his followers called Sian Davies, a former pupil at Cheltenham Ladies’ College.

Balakrishnan, who called himself Comrade Bala, was jailed for 23 years in 2016 after the sect was finally exposed and he was convicted of offences including child cruelty, false imprisonment and assault. He died at HMP Dartmoor in April 2022.

Now, Ms Morgan-Davies has spoken to MailOnline in a new episode of our popular YouTube series ‘My Story’ featuring people with extraordinary life stories.

To watch the full episode click here. 

Katy Morgan-Davies has spoken to MailOnline in a new episode of YouTube series ‘My Story’

Aravindan Balakrishnan brainwashed his followers into thinking he had godlike powers

She said: ‘I have forgiven my father because I think holding onto anger and hatred is poisonous really. And it, it only harms the person who does that.

‘If we indulge hatred and anger and revenge, if I do that, I’m no better than my dad, because that’s what got him into that position in the first place.

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‘(He was) indulging his negative emotions rather than trying to rise above and deal with his situation with grace. We should implement mercy and grace in every situation that we find ourselves in.’

Growing up, Ms Morgan-Davies was told she was a ‘waif’ who had been adopted by the cult.

Starved of affection, she was banned from leaving the house unaccompanied and routinely psychologically and physically abused.

Ms Morgan-Davies said: ‘My earliest memories were of aggression and violence from my father and feeling scared of everyone around me because you never knew when someone was going to snitch on you.

‘I mean, something you would do just what you would think is very normal, like looking out of the window – and if someone reported it could lead to any number of things.

‘I was beaten up and I often saw other people being slapped and punched. There was no friendship or connection between any of the cult members. They were all vicious rivals. The only time when they connected was in order to find out how to punish a third person.’

As a child she became so lonely she would talk to the taps in the bathroom, and tried to make friends with the rats and mice that scuttled into the kitchen.

After 30 years being kept a slave she managed to escape the cult in 2013 after memorising the number for an anti-slavery charity she saw on the news.

Katy Morgan-Davies gave evidence against her father Aravindan Balakrishnan during his trial

Katy Morgan-Davies was effectively kept prisoner in the cult’s house in South London

Speaking about her escape, Ms Morgan-Davies said: ‘When I was 22, I ran away from the house because I just couldn’t stand living there anymore.

‘I just kept hoping that things would change and nothing ever did. So I thought, this time I need to just get out. I was like a caged bird with clipped wings.

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‘I didn’t know how to do anything, I didn’t know how to pay for things or cross a road or do anything. I started to realise my hunch that something was not right was correct.’

Balakrishnan preyed on his female followers and brainwashed them into thinking he had godlike powers.

Southwark Crown Court also heard during his trial that he raped two of his followers.

Ms Morgan-Davies said: ‘My father’s beliefs were extremely weird and bizarre, to say the least. He thought he was the unofficial ruler of the world and that he was being targeted by what he called the ‘British fascist state’ because they knew that he was the rightful ruler of the world and they were desperate to prevent him from succeeding in what he was doing.

‘I don’t know whether it was right to call him a communist, but that’s what he called himself. But his beliefs were more quasi-religious as time went on.

‘He used to say that he loved me, but it was very conditional. It was only if I did as he asked. He didn’t love me as a person. He only loved me for what I could do for him,

‘And if you disagreed with him or sort of challenged him in any way, you never knew what was going to happen to you. So that was that was the essence of the cult that I grew up in.’

Balakrishnan also invented an invisible war machine called Jackie which he said could kill or trigger earthquakes if anyone went against his will.

Speaking about her mother, Ms Morgan-Davies said: ‘There were nine other people when I was a child, when I was a baby, but I don’t remember some of them.


Ms Morgan-Davies was the secret child of Balakrishnan and one of his followers called Sian Davies (pictured left and right), a former pupil at Cheltenham Ladies’ College

‘But I definitely remember one person leaving when I was around six and in my early teens, another person killed themselves and later on I learnt that she was my mum.

‘I was shown a piece of paper which had my birth details on it and this woman, Sian, who I thought was a terrible person, was listed as my mother on that. She was very unpleasant and I thought of her as a really nasty bully because that is really what she was.

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‘She was always the first to snitch on me and tell my dad that I had done something that he didn’t approve of. And [it] used to result in beatings or punishment of different sorts. My mum was not what you would expect a mum to be.’

Balakrishnan’s political activities were said to have been motivated by British colonial cruelty where he was brought up in Singapore.

Born in a village in Kerala, India, Balakrishnan had moved there with his father, a clerk at the British Naval Base, where he went to school and completed his undergraduate degree.

In 1963, he sailed to Britain and applied for a degree course at the LSE, a hotbed of political activity.

Speaking during his trial, he said he had come from a state of emergency in Singapore after the Second World War where ‘the cruelty was unbelievable’, especially to people who had ‘helped Britain against the Japanese’.

He soon became involved in the political scene. Describing himself as a ‘revolutionary socialist’, he began public speaking and recruited fellow students – particularly Malaysian nurses – for his cause.

In the early 1970s, Balakrishnan officially set up the Workers’ Institute of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought in a bid to overthrow ‘the fascist state’ and insisted his followers called him Comrade Bala.

The main belief instilled in the group was that only he and the Chinese dictator Mao Zedong had the authority to ‘lead the world to revolution to establish an international dictatorship of the proletariat’.

Balakrishnan was convicted in January 2016 of four counts of rape, six counts of indecent assault, two counts of ABH, cruelty to a child under 16, and false imprisonment.

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