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Collins ex denies blackmail bid

The ex-girlfriend of Justin Lee Collins has denied attempting to blackmail the comedian after they broke up.

Anna Larke, 38, alleges Collins harassed and assaulted her during their nine-month relationship.

Sonia Woodley QC, defending Collins, alleged Miss Larke told the former host of The Friday Night Project she would report him to police unless he gave her £20,000 after he refused to get back with her.

Ms Woodley said: "You kept texting him and you threatened to go to the police when you realised he wasn't coming back. You told him, 'Give me £20,000 or I'm going to hurt you and I'm going to go to the police'. You wanted money. Is that what part of this case is about, Anna?"

Miss Larke replied: "Oh my god, that's absolute lies. I've never said that."

The court heard the former video games public relations worker was not in work at the time of the break-up.

Ms Woodley told St Albans Crown Court that Collins, 38, texted Miss Larke back saying: "I've offered you all sorts of help but I'm not getting involved in blackmail."

Miss Larke told the court: "If I had just wanted money I would have gone straight to the press." She admitted telling police she threatened to go to PR guru Max Clifford with her story.

Collins, of Kew, south-west London, denies a single charge of harassment by causing Miss Larke fear of violence.

Miss Larke claims the comic subjected her to a campaign of physical and emotional abuse during their nine-month relationship. He allegedly made her write down her entire sexual history and told her to throw away DVDs which starred her favourite actors because he feared she was attracted to them.

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