After a lengthy 10 day trial, Justin Lee Collins has been found guilty of harassing his ex-girlfriend Anna Larke, having pleaded not-guilty to the charge of “putting a person in fear of violence by harassment.” The judge sentenced him to 140 hours of community service, saying that it will be 'humbling work', reports Sky News. The judge also said to Collins: “You've had a successful career and led, up to this time, a decent life. It would have been very much to your credit if you had had the courage to admit your violence against Ms Larke and for that you will pay the price."
The court heard how Collins stopped Ms Larke using social networking sites, forced her to stay awake until he went to sleep, sleep facing him, he made her write down the details of her sexual history and as the Telegraph reports, “constantly ridiculed her about her weight and compared her unfavourably with women he read about in men's magazines.” Perhaps most disturbingly, Larke accused Collins of making death threats against her, pushing her in front of a car, and attacking her physically while on holiday in Miami and New York.
In a turn of events, that Collins did perhaps not expect, the jury were played a tape of a recording that Larke made secretly of an argument of theirs in which Collins' language was both abuse and racist.
Collins is disappointed with the verdict and it seems he plans to appeal the sentence, as Sky News reports that he will be 'speaking to his lawyers'. His wife, who spoke in his defence, described the verdict as 'ridiculous'. It seems there are still grounds of contention in this case, that saw Larke and Collins accusing each other of very similar behaviour. However, the light that can come from this case, is the power that many other women, who have found themselves in a similar situation that Larke claimed to have been in, have found the strength to leave their abusive partners or even press charges.