British actress Michelle Collins has opened up about her horror after she was accused of a conspiracy to have children taken into care, insisting the case was a "complete nightmare".
Collins, who has enjoyed long-running roles in hit U.K. soap operas EastEnders and Coronation Street, befriended a Nigerian family with young kids in 2009, but became worried about their welfare.
She voiced her concerns to social services officials, but was horrified when she was accused by the parents of plotting to have the children taken into care.
Collins was among the witnesses called to give evidence against the couple during a trial in London, and a judge found the pair guilty of subjecting its children to a catalogue of abuse. Each parent was sentenced to seven years in prison.
Following the conclusion of the case on Tuesday (14Aug12), Collins has now opened up about the ordeal, telling Britain's People newspaper, "It has been a complete nightmare. I came out mentally, completely exhausted by it all thinking, 'Please God let this be over, I can't do it any more.' It was horrible. I have been an innocent party in all this. I've had awful accusations over the past couple of years."
However, she insists she has no regrets about how she handled the case: "I would still do it all over again if I thought a child was under threat. A year later those children could have been dead and I would be wishing I had done something."
Speaking about her court appearance, Collins says, "It was the hardest thing I've ever done. You're being told you're lying and everything you say is being contradicted. I was painted as this completely different person to the one I knew I was."