Justin Lee Collins gives evidence in his trial for 'harassment' of Welwyn Garden City woman Anna Larke
PUBLISHED: 06:30 03 October 2012
JUSTIN Lee Collins took the stand in his 'harassment' trial at St Albans Crown Court late yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon.
Collins, 38, of Kew, South West London, will resume giving evidence today as the defence case continues.
He is accused of harassing Welwyn Garden City woman Anna Larke – a charge he denies.
The comic told how problems in his marriage began in 2006 and that from 2007 to 2008 he had had a number of affairs.
Speaking softly he told how he met Anna Larke at the Golden Joysticks Awards – a computer games industry bash.
He said he became aware of her while mingling with guests after he had finished presenting awards.
“I noticed a girl over my shoulder every time I looked up there would be the same girl looking at me and following me around,” he said.
Collins said the first thing Anna Larke said to him was: “Don’t worry - I’m not stalking you or anything.”
He then said Miss Larke had tracked him down on social network MySpace and they had communicated after that.
The Bristolian funnyman met up with Anna Larke in “around June 2007” when he invited her to a broadcast of The Friday Night Project.
They then met “sporadically” for drinks after that.
The relationship at that stage was physical but “we weren’t sleeping together, we weren’t having sexual intercourse”.
He said his decision not to have full sex with Miss Larke, a self-imposed “line that I didn’t want to cross”, was “a significant issue” for her.
“She wanted to sleep with me,” he said.
He said he didn’t sleep with Miss Larke at that point of the relationship because he was “aware it was inappropriate”.
Collins alleged “obsessed” Anna Larke “frequently wanted more of me than I was prepared to give” and he said she would send “dozens into a hundred” text messages in a single day.
Under questioning by his defence barrister Sonia Woodley QC, Collins told how tabloid revelations about other dalliances led to him confessing all to his wife Karen, and trying to save his marriage.
Later, and despite telling Anna Larke he’d go to the police unless she stopped contacting him, after she allegedly called on his son Archie’s birthday, he ended up in contact with her again.
He said his marriage became “shaky” again in September 2010 and despite being told not to contact him Anna Larke still did.
“I thought ‘my goodness me, after all this time she can’t let go’ he said.
As he became unhappy in his marriage once more he said he thought: “There was someone out there who was clearly, it would seem, in love with me or obsessed with me.”
The fed-up star said he was drawn to Anna Larke because “when you’re feeling unloved you maybe start thinking about alternatives”.
He got in touch with her via a Facebook ‘poke’, and she then contacted him in October 2010.
The trial continues.