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Collins 'Only Slapped Ex To Stop Self-Harm'
Justin Lee Collins has admitted hitting his ex-girlfriend but said he did it only to stop her self-harming in front of him, a court has heard.
The 38-year-old television presenter was giving evidence at St Alban's Crown Court where he is standing trial accused of slapping and harassing Anna Larke during their nine-month relationship.
He claimed he told Ms Larke to leave him alone after they first met in 2006 while he was still married and that after they got together she asked him to support her financially for three months after she resigned from her job.
He said she threatened to go to the police with assault allegations if he did not give her £20,000 and that he subsequently transferred "thousands" of pounds into her bank account. "I took Anna and all her problems on board," he told the jury.
Police interviews the comedian gave after his arrest were also read out to the court.
They revealed Collins told officers Ms Larke was possessive of him and believed he was going to go off with other women. He also said he had threatened to leave her due to her "drinking".
His sex life with Ms Larke was normal, he said. He added he was "straight" with no fetishes, though he added she was "a very sexual creature".
In his police statement he denies forcing Ms Larke to compile a list of her previous sexual partners, claiming it was her idea and that it was for "therapy".
He said: "I sat there with her but it was her idea," before describing it as "as graphic as it comes".
The court also heard evidence from Ms Larke's younger brother, Alexis. He told the jury his sister had been "elated and very happy" when she and Collins first moved-in together.
He claimed Anna once turned up with a notebook and told him Collins had told her to write down all her sexual partners.
When questioned by the defence, Alexis accepted he had told his sister he was thinking of having her sectioned so she could be helped with her alcohol problems.
Ms Larke has claimed Collins attacked her in their Miami hotel room in March 2011.
The TV host told police he had only ever slapped Ms Larke to calm her down when she was self-harming, claiming she once gouged her wrists and threatened to commit suicide.
Saying she had a "screaming fit" during a relapse in the hotel room, he told police officers: "She would have episodes and I would try to calm her down.
"She was saying 'you are going to hit me, you are going to hit me', and I was saying 'what are you talking about?'.
"I have never hit anyone in my life. I don't know where what she was saying comes from."
Collins claims he spent £25,000 on her during their relationship - describing it as "a ridiculous amount of money".
He also described how he first met Ms Larke at an awards ceremony. He told the court she followed him around the room and said: "don't worry, I'm not stalking you".
He added Ms Larke was "obsessive" and would sometimes send him "a hundred text messages in a single day".
Collins, who presented The Friday Night Project, denies harassing and assaulting Ms Larke. The trial continues.