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.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracy Emin's 1998 piece 'My Bed' on display at Christie's
artOne expert claims she did not
News
Ernesto Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, right, met at Havana Golf Club in 1962 to mock the game
newsFidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
News
Hackers revealed Oscar-winning actress Lawrence was paid less than her male co-stars in American Hustle
people
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Sport
Robin van Persie is blocked by Hugo Lloris
footballTottenham vs Manchester United match report
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?