Tuesday 17 October 2017

Jury out for third day in Justin Lee Collins abuse case

Justin Lee Collins
Justin Lee Collins

Jennifer Cockerell

A JURY has begun its third day of deliberations in the trial of television presenter Justin Lee Collins, who is accused of harassing his ex-girlfriend.

Sending the 11 remaining jurors out today, the judge gave them a majority direction, telling them that now only 10 of them need to be decided on a verdict.

During the 10-day trial at St Albans Crown Court, jurors heard details of Collins' tempestuous relationship with Anna Larke, in which they frequently fell out and argued.

Video games public relations worker Ms Larke, 38, claims Collins subjected her to various levels of emotional and domestic abuse.

She alleged the 38-year-old, made her made her write down all her previous sexual encounters regardless of how graphic.

The court was told he did not want to write the details down but Ms Larke dictated them to him and he believed it may have been a form of catharsis for her.

Collins, of Kew, south west London, who made a name for himself with Channel 4's The Friday Night Project, denies the charge of harassment and said recovering alcoholic Ms Larke, who moved in with him in January last year, was obsessive, jealous and possessive and would send him a "barrage" of text messages wanting to know where he was and who he was with.

The pair met at a corporate event in 2006 and began an affair in 2007 to 2008 before splitting up.

The relationship resumed at the end of 2010 after the defendant's marriage to wife Karen, the mother of his sons Archie, seven, and Harvey, four, broke down.

Collins and Ms Larke lived together from January to July last year in a deeply troubled relationship as she tried to overcome alcoholism, the court has heard.

Collins is accused of making her stop using social networking websites, sleep facing him and throw away DVDs because they featured actors she found attractive.

He denied all those claims and also denied making death threats against her.

Collins said the seven-month relationship with Ms Larke was "absolute hell".

"I thought she loved me and was crazy about me," he said. "But it turned out only the second part was true."

He denied attacking her in any way, saying he had never hit anyone in his life.

Collins told the court he had only ever slapped Ms Larke to calm her down when she was self-harming, which he claimed she did, once gouging her wrists and threatening to commit suicide.

Ms Larke has claimed Collins attacked her in their Miami hotel room in March last year.

Giving evidence to the court Ms Larke said she had not shown her doctor her bruises because she did not want to get Collins into trouble.

"I didn't want to do it to Justin. He was the love of my life," she said.

Jurors were sent out by the judge on Saturday, an unusual move because courts do not usually sit at weekends, so that Judge John Plumstead could finish his summing up and they could begin deliberating their verdict as soon as possible.

One juror was then discharged late yesterday.

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