Justin Lee Collins' ex-girlfriend denies £20,000 blackmail attempt


The ex-girlfriend of Justin Lee Collins today denied attempting to blackmail the comedian after they broke up.

Anna Larke, 38, alleges Collins harassed and assaulted her during their nine-month relationship.

Today Sonia Woodley QC, defending Collins, alleged Miss Larke told the former host of The Friday Night Project she would report him to police unless he gave her £20,000 after he refused to get back with her.

Ms Woodley said: "You kept texting him and you threatened to go to the police when you realised he wasn't coming back.

"You told him, 'Give me £20,000 or I'm going to hurt you and I'm going to go to the police'.

"You wanted money. Is that what part of this case is about, Anna?"

Miss Larke replied: "Oh my god, that's absolute lies. I've never said that."

The court heard the former video games public relations worker was not in work at the time of the break-up.

Ms Woodley told St Albans Crown Court that Collins, 38, texted Miss Larke back saying: "I've offered you all sorts of help but I'm not getting involved in blackmail."

Miss Larke told the court: "If I had just wanted money I would have gone straight to the press."

She admitted telling police she threatened to go to PR guru Max Clifford with her story.

"I don't know why I did that," she said in the witness box.

Collins, of Kew, south-west London, denies a single charge of harassment by causing Miss Larke fear of violence.

Miss Larke claims the comic subjected her to a campaign of physical and emotional abuse during their nine-month relationship. He allegedly made her write down her entire sexual history and told her to throw away DVDs which starred her favourite actors because he feared she was attracted to them.

Giving evidence today, Miss Larke's mother Penelope told the court her daughter would call her and tell her that Collins smacked and swore at her.

Mrs Larke, who is originally from Greece, said her daughter seemed happy at the start of the relationship but things changed when she moved to London to live with the comic.

"I could tell from her voice. I asked her, 'Are you happy darling?'. She said, 'I'm okay mum ... He has a bad temper and everything has to be perfect'," Mrs Larke said.

She said her daughter told her Collins pressured her to tell him about her sexual past.

"I said it wasn't very decent of him to ask such personal questions but she said he said to her, 'If you don't tell me you can f*** off out of my house," Mrs Larke said.

She added: "He called her all the names under the sun, horrible names."

Miss Larke also told her mother that Collins had smacked her on the face but asked her to keep it secret, Mrs Larke said.

"She said, 'Mum, I have to tell you something, you have to promise me first that you won't say anything to anybody', and then she said he smacked her and swears at her. She told me he smacked her in the private parts.

"I told her it wasn't a very healthy relationship and that she should just pack her bags and come home."

Mrs Larke's husband Jeremy told the court it was like "walking on eggshells" when their daughter visited the family home while she was in the relationship with Collins.

Mr Larke said he asked her about reddish marks he noticed on her face and arms but she dismissed them. He said she would change the subject if they asked about the relationship.

Her moods would be "up and down" and she seemed "depressed", Mr Larke added.

Following the split he described his daughter as being "completely irrational and torn apart".

"She said there had been a fiery end to it," Mr Larke said.

He said his daughter told them Collins had "grabbed her hair, dragged her around the room and smacked her in the private parts" during a trip to America.

"It was a great shock to me. I can't believe he would beat her up. I am very upset about it," he told the court.

However both parents told the court Miss Larke, a recovering alcoholic, told them she did not drink while she was in the relationship with the comic.

Mrs Larke said: "He told her if he saw her with a sip of wine then she would be out the door."

Her daughter has told the court she had agreed to go to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings because Collins asked her to.

The court has also heard that Collins, on receiving a barrage of texts from Miss Larke following the break-up, telephoned Mr Larke and told him his daughter need expert help and should attend AA meetings.

The case was adjourned until Tuesday morning.


Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most