UK & World News
Justin Lee Collins 'Made Partner Recount Sex Life'
Comedian and television presenter Justin Lee Collins made his girlfriend recount every sexual experience she had ever had for a notebook he kept as part of a campaign of domestic abuse, a jury has been told.
The 38-year-old also made Anna Larke throw away her DVD collection "on the basis she found some of the male actors in the movies attractive", it is alleged.
Collins assaulted and harassed his girlfriend during their nine-month relationship last year, said prosecutor Peter Shaw, at St Albans Crown Court.
He denies putting his ex-partner, also 38, "in fear of violence" between January and August last year.
A jury of nine women and three men heard that Collins, who came to fame with Channel 4's The Friday Night Project, made Ms Larke close her email, Facebook and Twitter accounts after reading her messages.
The pair met while Collins was still married. Ms Larke helped him move from Bristol to Kew, southwest London, in January 2011, and moved in with him.
Mr Shaw said: "The main part of that relationship was characterised by this defendant exerting control over her, verbally abusing her and physically assaulting her."
The defendant "exhibited a desire to restrict" his girlfriend's activities, the barrister said.
"Significantly, Mr Collins resorted to compiling a dossier in the form of a Pukka Pad notebook.
"The purpose of the notebook was to list every sexual experience with every one of Ms Larke's previous lovers or partners.
"He sometimes accused her of lying about the details of her past and initially she did lie about her past because she regarded it as acutely private but he told her that it would help the relationship and help him deal with her past."
Collins was "insistent" that his girlfriend, a recovering alcoholic, "sleep facing towards him and that, if he awoke in the dead of night to find that she turned away from him in the bed, he would rouse her and criticise her for having turned her back to him", the prosecutor said.
Mr Shaw said Ms Larke, a video games public relations worker, tried to help the defendant get anger management therapy and sent him a link to a domestic violence course.
In May that year, Collins returned home from filming abroad and was "angry" that Ms Larke had only managed to attend one Alcoholics Anonymous meeting that day rather than two.
"He wanted to know what she had been doing while he was away and accused her of infidelity," Mr Shaw said.
"He was slapping her and she was forced to flee the flat screaming for help."
On July 2, after visiting a pub, Collins accused Ms Larke of "fancying the man" in a couple they had seen hugging, Mr Shaw said.
A row ensued which Ms Larke recorded.
Clips were played in which Collins is apparently heard shouting and swearing at her. On the tape Collins accuses Ms Larke of being "very promiscuous" and having had 50 lovers.
An interview between Ms Larke and police was played to the jury, in which she repeatedly breaks down in tears and says their relationship was initially "really lovely" and she was "absolutely in love".
In his police interview, Collins denied ever assaulting Ms Larke "other than slapping her cheek to calm her when she'd been self-harming".
Collins, who appeared in the West End musical Rock Of Ages, told detectives that Ms Larke was the possessive one in the relationship.
Ms Larke told police: "I don't know how I got through it. He is a nasty bastard. A nasty horrible man. I was on egg shells all the time. Everything I did or said was wrong and being picked to pieces.
"He is a very depressed man, a very angry man. He has ridiculously low self-esteem for somebody who comes across as having tons of self-esteem."
Under cross-examination by Collins's barrister, Sonia Woodley QC, Ms Larke acknowledged she had mentioned going to the PR guru Max Clifford.
"I very briefly considered going to Max Clifford but in my heart I knew it was right to go to court," Ms Larke said. She added that talk of going to Mr Clifford was "bravado" on her part. The trial continues.