The ex-girlfriend of comedian and TV presenter Justin Lee Collins was on the verge of tears today as she said she had put up with the abusive relationship because he was the love of her life.

Anna Larke, 38, told a jury at St Albans Crown Court that she had not shown her doctor her bruises because she did not want to get Collins into trouble.

"I didn't want to do it to Justin. He was the love of my life," she said.

Collins, from Kew, south west London, is accused of harassing and assaulting Miss Larke during their nine-month relationship last year.

Speaking from behind a screen at the court, the recovering alcoholic described being terrified about Collins returning from a trip to Las Vegas because she had failed to attend one of two AA meetings which she had told him she would attend.

"I remember his ringing me and shouting abuse down the phone to me. I was petrified about him coming back. Absolutely petrified," she told the court.

Miss Larke also claimed he shouted at her and tore a 20-dollar note in front of her when she refused to have a lap dance in a club in Miami.

Earlier, the jury of nine women and three men heard that the 38-year-old star had bought her gifts including diamond earrings and a digital camera because she claimed he had hit her cat.

Under cross-examination by Collins's barrister Sonia Woodley QC, Miss Larke admitted Collins had given her the password for his email account after she accused him of flirting with women. She also admitted bombarding the comic with text messages after the break-up.

Finishing her cross-examination, Ms Woodley accused Miss Larke of being a fantasist. Miss Larke replied: "I would suggest I am absolutely not."