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Charles Saatchi ‘made threat to destroy’ Nigella Lawson

Charles Saatchi ‘made threat to destroy’ Nigella Lawson

TV cook and author Nigella Lawson has told a court her ex-husband Charles Saatchi threatened to “destroy” her with “false” allegations of drug use.
She said he made the threat after she had shown reluctance to give evidence at the trial of her assistants. Francesca and Elisabetta Grillo face fraud charges at Isleworth Crown Court. The Grillos’ defence has claimed they were allowed to spend on credit cards by Ms Lawson in return for covering up her use of drugs. She said that the allegations that have been made about her at the trial had followed “a long summer of bullying and abuse”. “I have been put on trial here where I am called to answer, and glad to answer the allegations, and [in] the world’s press,” she said. She said she had been reluctant to give evidence in the trial, which had provoked an angry reaction from Mr Saatchi. “He had said to me if I didn’t get back to him and clear his name, he would destroy me,” she said. ‘Broke our heart’ Ms Lawson said following the “awful incident at Scotts”, the “false” allegations began circulating on a “PR blog”. Mr Saatchi was cautioned for assault after images of him grasping Ms Lawson by the neck at the London restaurant appeared in a newspaper. She said the allegations on the blog were “dedicated to salvaging Mr Saatchi’s reputation and destroying mine”. On Friday, Mr Saatchi told the court that he had “no proof” that Ms Lawson had ever taken drugs. The couple divorced in July after 10 years of marriage. The Grillo sisters, Francesca, 35, and Elisabetta, 41, are accused of using credit cards loaned to them by the couple to spend more than £685,000 on themselves. Ms Lawson told the court Elisabetta did not have a strong moral compass, but she said the 41-year-old was a “stalwart” who had helped her through the death of her first husband. She said the allegations of fraud “broke our heart” when they were revealed to her and Mr Saatchi. Ms Lawson said Elisabetta had been “a rock”, adding: “I would have done anything for her”. ‘Team Cupcake’ Defending, Anthony Metzer QC asked Ms Lawson if Mr Saatchi had a temper. She said that he “did have a temper and I don’t think that anyone can be in any doubt he had a temper”, adding that she had confided in Elisabetta about Mr Saatchi’s outbursts. Ms Lawson told the court that Mr Saatchi used to shout and swear at her, and she told the defendant privately that “I don’t know how long I can take this”. She added that it was “not beyond impossible to imagine” that Mr Saatchi had also lost his temper with Elisabetta. Mr Metzer also asked about if she thought her background conflicted with Mr Saatchi. “I don’t understand why my marriage is pertinent to you,” she said. She added that while her late husband John Diamond had left her with some debts, she was an independent woman who had not used Mr Saatchi’s money to pay them off. Mr Metzer was then warned by Judge Robin Johnson that he should not “invite argument”. Ms Lawson also corrected the defence barrister, who had referred to her supporters as Team Nigella. “No, they call themselves Team Cupcake,” she said. The case continues.

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