Skip to main content

Nigella Lawson faces police drugs investigation

By Peter Wilkinson and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
December 22, 2013 -- Updated 1230 GMT (2030 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • UK police to examine evidence that celebrity chef Nigella Lawson took cocaine
  • News came days after Lawson's two former assistants were cleared of fraud
  • Both assistants claimed to have seen signs of repeated drug use by Lawson
  • Lawson admits having occasionally used drugs including cocaine

London (CNN) -- British police said Sunday they would examine evidence suggesting that celebrity chef Nigella Lawson took cocaine.

The news came days after Lawson's two former personal assistants were cleared of fraud in a trial that saw the chef admit to occasionally using drugs including cocaine.

In a statement on Sunday the Metropolitan Police said a specialist team would examine "all the evidence emerging as part of a review into this matter and in conjunction with the Crown Prosecution Service, will determine an appropriate way forward."

However, police added that there was "no imminent prospect" of a prosecution being mounted against Lawson.

"The Senior Investigating Officer received legal advice that the witness's admissions did not by themselves provide sufficient evidence to bring charges."

On Friday Lawson spoke out angrily against what she said were false claims of habitual drug use made against her in the trial of sisters Elisabetta and Francesca Grillo.

Francesca Grillo had been accused of defrauding Lawson and her ex-husband Charles Saatchi of $950,000 (£580,000), and Elisabetta Grillo of defrauding them of $172,000 (£105,000). Both denied the charges.

The case gripped UK media, thanks to revelations of drug use by Lawson and insights into her troubled marriage to Saatchi, a millionaire art collector. The couple divorced this year.

At the trial, both sisters claimed to have seen signs of repeated cocaine and cannabis use by Lawson.

However, both testified that they had never seen her take drugs. Saatchi likewise said he had never seen his ex-wife use drugs.

Elisabetta Grillo told the court that Lawson had smoked cannabis with her two children from her marriage to her first husband, the late John Diamond.

In her own testimony, Lawson confirmed she had taken cocaine half a dozen times, during two periods of her life, and used cannabis in the past. But she denied being a habitual user.

Lawson, who was a prosecution witness, said she was "disappointed but unsurprised" by the verdict. She slammed what she said was a sustained campaign to ruin her reputation.

"Over the three week trial the jury was faced with a ridiculous sideshow of false allegations about drug use which made focus on the actual criminal trial impossible," Lawson said in a prepared statement.

"My experience as a witness was deeply disturbing. When false claims about habitual drug use were introduced I did everything possible to ensure the (Crown Prosecution Service) was aware of the sustained background campaign deliberately designed to destroy my reputation."

READ: Nigella Lawson - flirtatious celebrity chef

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 0500 GMT (1300 HKT)
China's Xi Jinping and India's Narendra Modi, leaders of the most populous nations face similar challenges. Can they learn from each other?
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 2236 GMT (0636 HKT)
The U.S. is not returning combat troops to Iraq, President Barack Obama insists.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 0301 GMT (1101 HKT)
This is "Flames of War," a slick and ominous new video from the ISIS media center.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 0038 GMT (0838 HKT)
A man abducted alongside killed U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff tells CNN that no one from the U.S. government has tried to talk with him.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 1508 GMT (2308 HKT)
Mulatu Astatke is the founding father of ethio-jazz: a fusion of Ethiopian music with western jazz.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 1311 GMT (2111 HKT)
Have you been to these? The global museum list, released Tuesday, ranks 25 of the world's best museums.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 1703 GMT (0103 HKT)
iOS 8, the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system, comes with new features that you'll enjoy.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 0927 GMT (1727 HKT)
Psychedelic drugs are being researched as a potential treatment for conditions ranging from anxiety to tobacco and alcohol addiction.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 0142 GMT (0942 HKT)
It's a surfer's paradise -- but Diah Rahayu is out on her own when it comes to professional women's wave-riding in Bali.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 1004 GMT (1804 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT