UK & World News

  • 6 December 2013, 4:32

Nigella Lawson: I'm Not Proud Of Drug Use

Nigella Lawson has said she is "not proud" of her past drug use after admitting she has occasionally taken cocaine and cannabis.

The TV chef told Isleworth Crown Court she would rather be "honest and ashamed" than "bullied with lies" after revealing details of her past drug use.

And she said she objected to stories "peddled" by her ex-husband Charles Saatchi, including allegations he was checking her nose for cocaine when he was photographed gripping her throat outside Scott's restaurant in Mayfair, London.

She said: "I'm not proud of the fact I have taken drugs but that does not make me a drug addict or a habitual drug user.

"The fact is, I would rather be honest and ashamed... I wasn't going to be bullied with lies.

"Mr Saatchi was not examining me for cocaine. That's a story he made up afterwards to clear his name."

The 53-year-old was in court for a second day as a witness in the trial of two former personal assistants - Elisabetta, also referred to as Lisa - and Francesca Grillo.

The Italian sisters are accused of spending more than 685,000 on credit cards loaned to them by Ms Lawson and Mr Saatchi. They deny the charge.

Ms Lawson denied lying to police when she disputed the drug allegations against her and said it was the "extent" of her drug use that was untrue.

She said: "It was not true in that my ex-husband was saying that he was getting cocaine out of my nose at Scott's and that I had been completely off my head for 10 years.

"Regular cocaine users do not look like this. They are scrawny and look unhealthy.

"If you think I would sabotage my health and leave my children orphans you are wrong."

Questioned by Karina Arden, defending Francesca Grillo, Ms Lawson denied using her evidence to explain herself in front of "the world's press".

She also denied keeping cocaine in a hollow "fake book" along with jewellery belonging to her mother and grandmothers.

The jewellery box also contained wedding rings she exchanged with her late husband John Diamond, including one he received after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer, the court heard.

She said: "I did not want to come to court because I had been menaced and there were allegations, and instead of it being a trial of your client, I would be put on trial.

"Up until yesterday, I've never spoken about anything that has happened over these past months because I wanted to keep my private life, private."

She said: "I felt it was my duty to come. I certainly felt it would be an unpleasant experience but that's not a good enough reason not to do one's duty."

The food writer admitted there were "no written-down rules" about the use of Mr Saatchi's company credit card by the PAs.

"It was known, because it was spoken, that they were not for personal use except if directed," she said.

"I think any normal person would think that someone else's credit card could not be used freely for someone else."

The trial continues on Tuesday.