Nigella Lawson drug-taking evidence to be reviewed by police

TV chef says 'I will survive this' as Scotland Yard announces it will examine 'all evidence emerging' from trial of Grillo sisters

The police are to review evidence relating to Nigella Lawson's admission during last week's trial of her former housekeepers that she took cocaine, Scotland Yard has said, in a fresh intervention that appears to threaten one of the few crumbs of comfort for her at the end of the bruising legal episode.

The television chef, whose personal brand will be tested shortly after Christmas when the British incarnation of her US cookery show makes its debut, was also on the receiving end on Saturday of further claims by Francesca and Elisabetta Grillo, who were cleared of defrauding Lawson and her former husband, Charles Saatchi.

The jury in the three-week court case had heard claims from the Grillo sisters that the use of cocaine and cannabis was rife in the Lawson home as part of a defence aimed at showing a household that was out of control.

As the war of words surrounding the case was ratcheted up over the weekend, Lawson released a statement through her publicist, saying: "I will survive this and move forward. I just want to focus on family life and work."

However, she now faces the prospect of further police attention following her admission in court to taking cocaine seven times, while denying being a habitual drug user.

The Metropolitan police had appeared to indicate on Friday that officers would not look into the issue of her drug-taking, but that the force would review the decision if fresh evidence came to light.

In a statement on Saturday evening, the force said it wanted to clarify its position after press reporting queried its decision not to investigate "at this stage".

"The senior investigating officer received legal advice that the witness's admissions did not by themselves provide sufficient evidence to bring charges," it said.

"On that basis therefore, and in absence of any other corroboration, there is no imminent prospect of a prosecution being mounted. As we said, however, should any evidence come to light that can be investigated further we will review this decision."

"A specialist team from the MPS will nevertheless 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."

There was support for Lawson on Saturday from her brother, Dominic, who used his column in the Sunday Times to state that her reputation had been "trashed unmercifully".

He wrote: "For the past month my sister, Nigella Lawson, has been on trial. She must have been, because people would come up to her in the street and say: 'I hope you get off.' What was her alleged crime? None, as it happens: Nigella was merely a prosecution witness in the trial of two assistants accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of pounds from the company account of her then husband, Charles Saatchi."

Lawson also likened his sister's experience of being questioned in the witness box to that of the parents of Milly Dowler during the trial of their daughter's killer, Levi Bellfield, when they were controversially cross-examined about details of their private lives.

The Grillo sisters, who had been expected to sell exclusive interview rights in the wake of the trial, were meanwhile quoted in the Sun on Sunday as saying that Lawson experienced "wild mood swings" as her marriage with Saatchi broke down.

While the interview lacked some of the more serious claims made by the sisters during the trial, Francesca Grillo said of her former employer: "She'd be this hyperactive Duracell bunny buzzing round the house. But then she wouldn't be able to sleep and would turn into a zombie."

"When you spoke to her it was like there was nothing there. She was vacant."

Powered by article was written by Ben Quinn, for on Sunday 22nd December 2013 14.23 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


image: © Chiara Faggella