Justin Lee Collins's relationship with ex-girlfriend brought out 'the demon' in him, court hears

 

Television presenter Justin Lee Collins's relationship with an ex-girlfriend accusing him of harassment brought out “the demon” in him, a court heard today.

Collins, 38, had a seven-month relationship with video games public relations worker Anna Larke last year.

A jury at St Albans Crown Court, in Hertfordshire, has heard a secret recording Ms Larke, 38, made of the entertainer verbally abusing her during a row last July.

On the recording the entertainer says to her "You bring the f****** demon out in me" as he insults her with a tirade of grossly offensive terms.

The "demon" comment was previously inaudible to the court but a transcript of it was used by prosecuting barrister Peter Shaw during Collins's cross-examination.

Collins, who came to fame with Channel 4's The Friday Night Project, said the "rant" was completely out of character and it sounded "like someone else".

Mr Shaw said: "You are telling her there is something about this relationship, something about her that brings the demon out in you."

The father of two said: "That's not true."

In the recording Collins calls Ms Larke a "f****** slag", a "dirty vile whore," and a "f****** sex addict".

Collins was in "meltdown", he told the jury of nine women and three men after his relationship with the recovering alcoholic hit rock bottom.

Collins, of Kew, south west London, denies harassment.

Collins met Ms Larke in 2006 at the Golden Joysticks Awards which he hosted in London.

The following year they embarked on an affair behind his wife Karen's back, which lasted until 2008.

The pair split up but resumed their relationship after the star's marriage broke down in late 2010. Collins and his wife had been married for nine years but together for 15 in total.

Ms Larke moved in with Collins in January last year after he left the marital home in Bristol, but problems quickly developed.

The Crown allege that the bearded, long-haired ex-comic was a controlling, sexually jealous boyfriend who made Ms Larke write down every sexual encounter she ever had.

Collins says the sex list, on which he features at number 37, was Ms Larke's idea to "unburden" herself.

He rejected claims he had problems with his temper and did not physically or emotionally abuse Ms Larke, who used to suffer from claustrophobia, agoraphobia, anxiety and depression.

Collins said: "I don't need anger management and to this day I don't have a problem with my anger."

Referring to the secret recording, he said he was not thinking clearly and was irrational.

Describing parts of it as "bizarre and nonsensical", he said: "They are just about the worst things a man can say to a woman."

He said the recording also showed him as a "man who has done everything he can to support and help financially and emotionally but can't do enough".

Collins denies assaulting the complainant, who admitted bombarding him with text messages.

Collins accepts he twice slapped Ms Larke but only with a gentle tap to calm her during relapses into alcoholism.

He added to this day he "still cares for her well-being".

The couple split up permanently the day after the recorded row.

Collins said he was still willing to financially support Ms Larke, whom he called a compulsive liar, but was harassed by her texting him.

On July 21, three weeks after she walked out of their home, she sent him 103 text messages.

The day after that she sent him a huge text message, which he described as a statement setting out a series of allegations against him.

"She is a fantasist," he said.

Collins has told the court that Ms Larke also rang him twice after splitting up to blackmail him for £20,000. But he did not know the dates, he said.

The performer also told the court today of his sorrow at leaving his wife and children.

He said Ms Larke had a big issue with the fact he was married.

"I needed her to understand I walked out on a young family with no good reason," he said.

"That's a burden I will always carry, that I left two young kids and a good woman."

Collins went into counselling because of the issue, he said.

The jury wrote down more than a dozen questions for the defendant this afternoon.

They spotted that in response to Ms Larke's 103 text messages, Collins had replied with 114, and signed off: "Speak tomorrow, gorgeous."

Asked to explain, he said ignoring her texts did not work, and: "I still had feelings for her, I still loved her."

The court has heard Collins refer to "blacks" and "chinks" and Ms Larke alleged he had "a problem with people of colour".

He denied that and today said: "Anna would use racist terminology if she could."

Collins's former wife Karen told the trial they are still friends and he was a "lovely, genuine person" who was never violent to her.

Speaking quietly and with Collins looking on from the dock, she said he was a "lovely dad" to their sons Archie, seven, and Harvey, four.

Asked to describe him, she said: "Gentle, not aggressive, kind and generous."

She added that he never tried to control her.

"I was always free to go out with friends if I wanted to."

Collins's friend Boyd Hilton, a journalist on Heat magazine, described him as "incredibly friendly, funny and down to earth".

Mr Hilton, who ghost-wrote Collins's autobiography and has been on several holidays with him, said: "He is obviously quite famous but is always very normal.

"He is really quite shy. He doesn't really like the showbusiness world and he doesn't hang out in that world."

Mr Hilton joined the defendant and Ms Larke on holiday in New York in March last year when she alleges Collins bruised her face.

He said he had seen no bruises and said Collins was "always very supportive of her".

The performer's agent, Peter Bennett-Jones, who owns his own management company, described his client as "an extraordinarily polite individual professionally".

Mr Bennett-Jones, who is chairman of Comic Relief, a governor of Rugby School and a trustee of the National Theatre, added that Collins had a "polite, respectful nature with everybody he has worked with".

"The behaviour I have read about and has been reported is inconsistent," he said, but acknowledged that he had not heard the recording of Collins's row with Ms Larke.

The trial will resume at 10am tomorrow when counsel will make closing speeches and Judge John Plumstead will sum up.

PA

Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv'The Last Kingdom' embraces politics, religion, warfare, courage, love and loyalty, say creators
Sport
Sergio Romero saves Wesley Sneijder's penalty
world cup 2014But after defeating the Dutch, Lionel Messi and Argentina will walk out at the Maracana on Sunday as underdogs against Germany
Sport
Scoreboard at the end of the semi-final World Cup match between Brazil and Germany at The Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte
Sport
'Saddest man in Brazil' takes defeat with good grace, handing replica trophy to German fans
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
peopleThe Game of Thrones author said speculation about his health and death was 'offensive'
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman and Lauren O'Neil in Jamie Lloyd's Richard III
theatreReview: The monarch's malign magnetism and diabolic effrontery aren’t felt
News
Glamour magazine hosts a yoga class with Yogalosophy author Mandy Ingber on June 10, 2013 in New York City.
newsFather Padraig O'Baoill said the exercise was 'unsavoury' in a weekly parish newsletter
Extras
indybest
News
people'She is unstoppable', says Jean Paul Gaultier at Paris show
Sport
Alexis Sanchez and apparently his barber Carlos Moles in Barcelona today
football
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips
video
Arts and Entertainment
In his own words: Oscar Wilde in 1882
theatreNew play by the Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials - and what they reveal about the man
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m
filmWith US films earning record-breaking amounts at the Chinese box office, Hollywood is more than happy to take its lead from its new-found Asian audience
News
The garage was up for sale in Canning Place Mews for £500,000
newsGarage for sale for £500,000
Life and Style
tech
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil