Nigella Lawson appeared in court today saying her ex-husband Charles Saatchi threatened to “destroy” her with “false” allegations of drug use.
The TV cook and author said Charles Saatchi 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 Grillo sisters’ defense has claimed they were allowed to spend on credit cards by Nigella Lawson in return for covering up her use of drugs.
Nigella Lawson 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.
Nigella Lawson said she had been reluctant to give evidence in the trial, which had provoked an angry reaction from Charles Saatchi.
“He had said to me if I didn’t get back to him and clear his name, he would destroy me,” she said.
Nigella Lawson said following the “awful incident at Scotts”, the “false” allegations began circulating on a “PR blog”.
Charles Saatchi was cautioned for assault after images of him grasping Nigella Lawson by the neck at the London restaurant appeared in a newspaper.
She said the allegations on the blog were “dedicated to salvaging Charles Saatchi’s reputation and destroying mine”.
On Friday, Charles Saatchi told the court that he had “no proof” that Nigella 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.
Nigella 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 Charles Saatchi.
Nigella Lawson said Elisabetta Grillo had been “a rock”, adding: “I would have done anything for her.”
Defending, Anthony Metzer QC asked Nigella Lawson if Charles 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 Charles Saatchi’s outbursts.
Nigella Lawson told the court that Charles Saatchi used to shout and swear at her, and she told the defendant privately: “I don’t know how long I can take this.”
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