Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Nigella: I'd Rather Be Honest and Ashamed

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Nigella: I'd Rather Be Honest and Ashamed

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Cheston Courts Correspondent

NIGELLA LAWSON was accused today of using the trial of her two personal assistants to get her version of her bitter divorce from Charles Saatchi into the world's press.

The television cook was said to have "not been frank" with prosecutors about her drug-taking history, the court heard. Confessing for the first time to taking cocaine and cannabis in the past was a case of "damage limitation", the jury was told.

In sharp exchanges on the second day of her evidence, Ms Lawson accused her millionaire ex-husband of "peddling" stories that she had been "off her head" on drugs "for 10 years".

On her admission of her past drug use, Ms Lawson said: "The fact is, I would rather be honest and ashamed... I wasn't going to be bullied with lies."

As tensions rose at Isleworth crown court, Judge Robin Johnson intervened to stop defence counsel Karina Arden from introducing pictures of the Scott's restaurant "incident".

The photographs -- published around the world in June -- showed Mr Saatchi gripping his then wife around the throat outside the Mayfair restaurant.

Ms Arden represents Francesca Grillo, who is accused, with her sister Elizabetta, of defrauding the celebrity couple of [pounds sterling]685,000 on Mr Saatchi's corporate credit card account which they allegedly spent on high living and designer clothes.

Ms Lawson, 53, today came to court again dressed all in black. Ms Arden told her: "You are a prosecution witness and to some extent you have used this case as a vehicle for you to explain yourself to the world's press."

Ms Lawson replied: "That would not be right. Up to yesterday I have never spoken about anything that has happened in these past months because I prefer to keep my private life private."

Ms Arden went on: "You are intent on the world's press knowing what account you want to put." Ms Lawson replied: "That's not right."

Yesterday the TV cook told the court that she had taken cocaine on six occasions in 1999 with her terminally ill husband John Diamond and then again in 2010 to deal with her unhappy marriage to Mr Saatchi. But Ms Lawson hit out at what she said were the stories Mr Saatchi had been "peddling" about her drug use. …

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