Shamed TV presenter Justin Lee Collins: ‘I will never accept that I am violent or an abuser’
Shamed Bristol-born television presenter Justin Lee Collins has refused to accept that he violently abused his ex-girlfriend – but ruled out a legal appeal.
Just 24 hours after a jury convicted the long-haired, bearded performer of harassing recovering alcoholic Anna Larke, Collins, 38, issued a statement saying he would “never accept the allegation that I am violent or an abuser”.
The jury at St Albans Crown Court heard earlier this week that during their seven-month relationship last year the entertainer made Ms Larke sleep facing him, made her write down all her previous sexual experiences and assaulted her.
After he was convicted he was photographed laughing, which he said did not reflect how he really felt.
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He said: “The pictures that have been released of me laughing are in no way a reflection of my current mood. I deeply regret the distress and anguish I have caused by my behaviour in what was a very troubled and difficult relationship with Anna Larke.
“After careful reflection in the last 24 hours I have decided not to proceed with an appeal against my conviction. I would like to re-iterate what I made clear in court, that I have never used or threatened violence against Anna Larke or anybody in my life.
“I accept that the jury have found elements of my conduct amounted to harassment, which I apologise for unreservedly, but I will never accept the allegation that I am violent or an abuser.”
Collins insisted he only ever gently slapped Ms Larke twice – when she was hysterical and relapsing into alcoholism. And he told the court she was jealous, obsessive and possessive.
Collins was ordered to carry out 140 hours of unpaid work for harassing his “vulnerable” girlfriend.
Sentencing the comic, Judge John Plumstead said it would be “humbling work” for someone with such a prominent showbusiness career.
Collins, who made a name for himself as a host on Channel 4’s The Friday Night Project, subjected Larke, a video games public relations worker, to sustained emotional and domestic abuse, prosecutors said. But he denied a host of allegations that he controlled her life making her throw away DVDs featuring actors she fancied and that he made her stop using social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter after reading her messages.