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Police Will Not Pursue Nigella Lawson’s Drug Use Claims

By Paul Gaita 01/28/14

The 53-year-old host of The Taste will avoid further embarrassment following the sordid revelations made amidst her contentious divorce from Charles Saatchi.

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According to reports, Scotland Yard will not investigate celebrity cook and author Nigella Lawson’s admission of cocaine and marijuana use during a recent fraud case involving two of her former assistants.

Lawson had previously confessed during testimony that she had used cocaine twice – once with her late husband, journalist John Diamond, after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and again in 2010 during her tumultuous marriage to art collector Charles Saatchi. Lawson also admitted to using marijuana in the final year of her marriage to Saatchi, whom she divorced in 2013. The confessions came as part of a case launched against Lawson’s former assistants, sisters Elisabetta and Francesca Grillo, who were accused of using credit cards from Saatchi’s Conarco Partnership company to make £685,000 of personal purchases, including designer shoes and clothes, while under Lawson’s employ.

In a controversial move, lawyer Anthony Metzer, representing Elisabetta Grillo, lodged a “bad character application” against Lawson, citing that she had consented to the sisters’ purchases “on the understanding that there would be no disclosure to her husband of her” use of Class A and B drugs and unauthorized use of prescription drugs. The accusation was supported by an email from Saatchi that voiced his belief in the sisters’ statements on the basis of her being “off [her] head on drugs.” Saatchi’s statements were later decried as part of an “attack” campaign against his former wife, who had dissolved the marriage after Saatchi was photographed grasping Lawson by the throat at a restaurant in 2013.

Lawson later conceded the aforementioned use of cocaine and cannabis, but denied the other allegations. The Grillos were eventually acquitted of the charges on December 20, 2013. Police subsequently dismissed speculation about an investigation into Lawson’s drug use, citing concerns about the impact a prosecution would have on potential future witnesses.

Scotland Yard’s statement noted that while “witnesses clearly cannot simply admit to any offense under oath without consequences, [an investigation] has to be balanced with the requirement for victims and witnesses to tell the truth. Further police activity may deter victims from being candid with police and in court for fear of future investigation.”

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites. 

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