Claims made public yesterday during the pre-trial of two women charged with the unauthorised use of a credit card belonging to the art dealer Charles Saatchi have put the spotlight on the alleged use of class A drugs by his former wife, the TV chef Nigella Lawson. Judge Robin Johnson told the court yesterday that the allegations were admissible as evidence. The pair of assistants, Francesca and Elisabetta Grillo, are accused of defrauding Mr Saatchi, (who divorced Ms Lawson in July) of more than £680,000, while working as their assistants.
In an email sent by Mr Saatchi to his former wife he described her as “Higella” and stated that Ms Lawson was “so off her head on drugs” that she failed to monitor the employees use of the card.
“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 and yes I believe every word they have said,” the email stated.
Judge Johnson told the court that Charles Saatchi said: “At the time of sending the email, I was completely astounded by the scale of drug use, set out in the statements from the defendants. Nevertheless I did believe the allegations that I’m referring to in the email.”
The Judge in the case said the allegations by Charles Saatchi were part of several communications sent following the “unhappy events surrounding the witnesses’ divorce this summer”. The couple split up after revealing photos appeared in a Sunday newspaper last June. They showed the art collector grabbing his wife by the throat in what appeared to be a throttling. Mr Saatchi stated it was “a playful tiff” but he was later cautioned by the police for common assault on the author and chef. The case continues.