Justin Lee Collins branded "bully and racist"
ONE of Bristol's best-loved comedians has been accused of being a violent bully, racist and control freak.
A court has been told that Justin Lee Collins pulled his girlfriend's hair, made sexually derogatory comments about her, deprived her of sleep and insisted she always faced him in bed, waking her and telling her off if she rolled to face away from him as she slept.
A jury has heard claims that the 38-year-old television presenter and actor was a "nasty horrible man" who forced girlfriend Anna Larke, also 38, to tell him all her previous sexual experiences and listed them in a book.
But he also suffered depression and low self-esteem - and once talked of throwing himself off the Clifton Suspension Bridge, Ms Larke claimed.
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Collins, who left Bristol after separating from his wife to live with Ms Larke in Kew, London, denies a charge of putting her in fear of violence by harassment.
A jury at St Albans Crown Court heard yesterday that Collins, who found fame on Channel 4 TV show The Friday Night Project, made Ms Larke close her e-mail, Facebook and Twitter accounts after reading her messages during their nine-month relationship last year.
Peter Shaw, prosecuting, said: "The main part of that relationship was characterised by this defendant exerting control over her, verbally abusing her and physically assaulting her.
"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 would ask her questions and then write it down.
"When Mr Collins was satisfied that Ms Larke had provided a sufficient amount of information he signified his satisfaction with the word 'Done'."
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 Collins get anger management therapy and sent him a link to a domestic violence course.
He said Collins made her throw away her DVD collection because "she found some of the male actors in the movies to be attractive".
He added that Collins had threatened to "put her in hospital unless she shut up" and once, on a trip to Florida during which the couple were photographed together on a beach, above, Collins grabbed Ms Larke's hair and pulled her to the floor.
"He pinned her down and spat in her face," said Mr Shaw. "She was screaming so loudly that a member of the hotel staff attended the room to see what was happening."
The court heard Ms Larke had recorded a row between the couple when Collins chastised her for looking at other people in a pub.
He went on to accuse her of having unprotected sex "on a train with different ethnicities," before insulting black and Chinese people, said Mr Shaw.
The recording also captured Collins calling Ms Larke a slag, a "dirty vile whore", a "coke-head", a sex addict and a lesbian, the court heard.
An interview between Ms Larke and police was played to the jury. In it she said Collins' temper would "blow" and he "smacked" her in the face. "My whole jaw and teeth were killing me and I would get bruises," she said. "He would pull my hair and jar my neck so badly."
Telling police Collins was "a nasty horrible man," she nonetheless said:
"I still miss him and don't know how he got under my skin."
Referring to Collins's alleged claim that she had slept with a black man while he was in America, Ms Larke told officers: "He has a problem with people of colour."
Giving evidence, Ms Larke claimed Collins would intentionally deprive her of sleep, claiming he would tell her she had to stay awake as long as he was, otherwise she "ran the risk of him texting other women".
Ms Larke said Collins told her: "Tell anyone what I have done and I will kill you and kill myself."
She added: "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 taking her story to publicist Max Clifford.
"I very briefly considered going to Max Clifford but in my heart I knew it was right to go to court," she said.
In his police interview, Collins denied ever assaulting Ms Larke "other than slapping her cheek to calm her when she'd been self-harming". He said that Ms Larke was the possessive one in the relationship.