UK & World News

  • 13 December 2013, 17:39

Nigella Lawson's Ex-PA: 'She Lied In Court'

Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi have been accused of lying under oath by one of the sisters accused of fraudulently spending 685,000 on the former couple's credit cards.

Giving evidence in court, Elisabetta Grillo, who was one of the TV cook's personal assistants, also claimed other members of her employer's so-called "Team Cupcake" had lied in court.

Last week, Ms Lawson admitted taking cocaine but said she had only used the drug after she found out her late husband John Diamond had terminal cancer, and in July 2010 during her troubled marriage to Mr Saatchi.

However, Grillo told Isleworth Crown Court that although she had never seen Ms Lawson taking drugs, there were signs of regular use.

Jurors heard she found a packet of white powder in the home Ms Lawson shared with Mr Diamond, as well as rolled-up banknotes and credit cards with white powder on them.

As details of some of her alleged spending were revealed, Grillo claimed Ms Lawson allowed her to buy a bed from Ikea and sign up for a fashion course because she was a "very generous" person.

She was given permission to use a credit card during a weekend in Paris because "it was my birthday" and bought Calvin Klein underwear while shopping for Ms Lawson's daughter "because we are the same size", the court heard.

"Nobody told me I could not take money," she said, adding that Ms Lawson allowed her to withdraw extra cash for herself if she worked beyond her hours.

Grillo, 41, claimed Mr Saatchi gave her 200 to bump up sales of his book.

She denied she was better dressed than any other household staff and said she bought clothes at discount stores and online.

She told jurors she was "not a shoes person" and had just 10 pairs, including some inexpensive ones from H&M, Zara and Primark.

"I was allowed to buy clothes for myself ... I worked hard," she said. "I was part of the family for 14 years."

Grillo and her sister Francesca, 35, deny committing fraud by using a company credit card for personal gain.

The trial, now in its third week, continues.

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