TV chef Nigella Lawson's husband cautioned by police for assault

Tue Jun 18, 2013 2:05pm EDT
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By Belinda Goldsmith

LONDON (Reuters) - Art collector Charles Saatchi has been cautioned by police for assaulting his wife, the celebrity chef Nigella Lawson, after being photographed grabbing her by the throat in an incident that has fueled a debate in Britain about domestic violence.

Photographs of Saatchi, 70, a former advertising tycoon, grasping a tearful Lawson around the neck while the couple were having dinner outside a London restaurant about a week ago were published in a tabloid newspaper on Sunday.

On Monday he downplayed the images, saying it was just a "playful tiff" and he was holding her neck to make his point, sparking fury from women's rights group. He said the couple made up although Lawson had moved out while "the dust settled".

A spokesman for London's Metropolitan Police said on Tuesday that they were aware of the photographs that appeared in the Sunday People on June 16 and had carried out an investigation.

"Yesterday afternoon, Monday June 17, a 70-year-old man voluntarily attended a central London police station and accepted a caution for assault," the spokesman said. "That would normally be the end of the matter."

Under English law, a caution can be given to an adult who admits a minor offence and this is not a criminal conviction but can be used as evidence of bad character in court for another crime. The suspect can be arrested or charged if they do not agree to be cautioned.

Lawson, 53, dubbed the domestic goddess after the title of one of her cook books and known for her flirtatious kitchen manner, has made no public comment on the incident that happened outside a seafood restaurant in upmarket Mayfair on June 9.

Her publicist said she would not be commenting on Tuesday.   Continued...

Art collector Charles Saatchi arrives at his home in west London June 18, 2013. REUTERS/Olivia Harris