Saatchi says has no proof ex-wife Nigella Lawson took drugs

Fri Nov 29, 2013 3:37pm EST
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By Alexander Winning

LONDON (Reuters) - Millionaire art dealer Charles Saatchi told a British court on Friday he had no proof that his celebrity ex-wife, TV chef Nigella Lawson, ever took drugs.

Earlier this week, two of Lawson's former personal assistants alleged that she was a regular user of cocaine and other drugs as part of their defense in an ongoing fraud trial.

Lawson, often nicknamed the "Domestic Goddess" after the title of one of her best-selling recipe books, is a cookery author who is popular in Britain and the United States.

Saatchi and Lawson ended their 10-year marriage in July, and he accepted a police caution after newspapers published pictures of him with his hands around his ex-wife's neck at a London restaurant a month earlier.

"I have never, never seen any evidence of Nigella taking any drug whatsoever," Saatchi told Isleworth Crown Court in west London, where the two assistants are standing trial.

"Are you asking me whether I think that Nigella truly was off her head? Not for a second. Over this whole period she was writing books very successfully and appearing on television."

Saatchi's testimony contrasted with an e-mail dated October 10 that was read out to jurors in which he accused Lawson of being "off her head" and referred to her as "Higella".

"I can only laugh at your sorry depravity. Of course now the Grillos will get off on the basis that you ... were so off your head on drugs that you allowed the sisters to spend whatever they liked," the e-mail read, referring to the two PAs by their Italian surname.   Continued...

Charles Saatchi (L) leaves Isleworth Crown Court in west London November 29, 2013. REUTERS/Toby Melville