Justin Lee Collins’ relationship with an ex-girlfriend accusing him of harassment brought out ‘the demon’ in him, a court has heard.
The TV presenter, 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’ 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.”
Collins, who denies harassment, was in ‘meltdown’, he told the jury after his relationship with the recovering alcoholic hit rock bottom.
Collins met Ms Larke in 2006 at the Golden Joysticks Awards which he hosted in London, and the following year they embarked on an affair, which lasted until 2008. The pair split up, but resumed their relationship after the star’s marriage broke down in late 2010. Ms Larke moved in with Collins in January last year after he left the marital home in Bristol, but problems quickly developed.
Collins rejected claims he had problems with his temper and did not physically or emotionally abuse Ms Larke. 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.”
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.
Collins has told the court that Ms Larke also rang him twice after splitting up to blackmail him for 20,000 pounds. But he did not know the dates, he said.