Nigella Lawson: ‘cocaine users do not look like this’

Celebrity chef says ‘if you want to put me on trial, put me on trial’ as she denies drug use

Nigella Lawson leaves Isleworth Crown Court in London after a  second day of  giving evidence in the trial of two former assistants who face charges of fraud. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA.

Nigella Lawson leaves Isleworth Crown Court in London after a second day of giving evidence in the trial of two former assistants who face charges of fraud. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA.

Thu, Dec 5, 2013, 18:13

Nigella Lawson has told a court “if you want to put me on trial, put me on trial” as she repeatedly denied being a “regular cocaine user”.

The celebrity cook, who has admitted using cocaine and cannabis in the past, denied stashing the class A drug in a box containing her late husband’s wedding rings as she gave evidence in the fraud trial of two of her former personal assistants today.

“I promise you... regular cocaine users do not look like this,” she said. “They are scrawny and look unhealthy...If you think I’m going to sabotage my health and leave my children as orphans, you are very wrong.”

Earlier, Lawson told the court she would rather be “honest and ashamed” than “bullied with lies” after revealing details of her past drug use.

She said she was “not proud” after admitting she has taken cocaine and cannabis but denied her admission was “damage limitation”.

“I’m not proud of the fact I have taken drugs but that does not make me a drug addict or a habitual drug user,” she said.

Ms Lawson said she objected to stories “peddled” by her ex-husband Charles Saatchi, including that he was checking her nose for cocaine when he was photographed gripping her throat outside Scott’s restaurant in central London.

“The fact is, I would rather be honest and ashamed... I wasn’t going to be bullied with lies,” she said.

“Mr Saatchi was not examining me for cocaine. That’s a story he made up afterwards to clear his name.”

Ms Lawson was continuing her evidence in the fraud trial of two of her former personal assistants.

Wearing an all-black outfit, she was greeted by a huge pack of photographers, reporters and cameramen as she arrived for a second day at Isleworth Crown Court in west London.

Jurors were previously read an email sent to Ms Lawson from Mr Saatchi in which he said the defendants would “get off” on the basis that she was “so off her head” on drugs she allowed them to “spend whatever they liked”.

Yesterday Ms Lawson denied being a drug addict and spoke of the “intimate terrorism” she suffered at the hands of Mr Saatchi.

She said she first took the class A drug with her late husband John Diamond when he found out he had terminal cancer, and on another occasion later during her troubled marriage to Mr Saatchi.

But the 53-year-old, who also admitted to smoking cannabis, said the idea that she is a “drug addict or habitual user of cocaine is absolutely ridiculous”.

“I did not have a drug problem, I had a life problem,” she said.

Francesca Grillo, 35, and her sister Elisabetta, sometimes referred to as Lisa, 41, are accused of committing fraud by abusing their positions by using a company credit card for personal gain.

Prosecutors claim the Italian sisters lived the ”high life”, spending the money on designer clothes and handbags from Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Vivienne Westwood.

The pair are accused of using credit cards loaned to them by the TV cook and her ex-husband to spend more than £685,000 on themselves between 2008 and 2012.

The Grillo sisters, of Kensington Gardens Square, Bayswater, west London, deny the charge against them.

PA

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