In a sad twist of fate certain to sour the ham in Coke I was going to cook for Christmas, seriously, Nigella Lawson has told Isleworth Crown Court that she has used cocaine seven times in her life while maintaining that she has “never been a drug addict” or “a habitual user”, as the high-profile $1.1 million fraud trial of two former aides, sisters Elisabetta and Francesca Grillo, continues.
Lawson took to the stand overnight and of her own accord addressed defamatory allegations of repeated drug use that began circulating “on a PR blog” and from an email made public from her ex-husband and noted scrub Charles Saatchi, in which he described her as ‘High-gella’ in an attempt “dedicated to salvaging [his] reputation and trashing [Lawson’s].” Lawson confirmed that she had taken cocaine with her late husband and the father of her two children, John Diamond, “when [he] knew his cancer was terminal and he was introduced to it by a friend who thought it would help. And I did on maybe six occasions join in with him – it was a small amount.”
She then conceded that she had again used the drug during “a very, very difficult time. [When] I felt subjected to an act of intimate terrorism by Mr Saatchi”; adding however that the drug “completely spooked” her, leading her to see a doctor and concluding “I did not have a drug problem, I had a life problem.”
Regarding the awful, infamous Scott’s restaurant throat-grabbing incident, Lawson confirmed Saatchi is an abhorrent jerk, by quoting “almost verbatim… What actually happened was that somebody walked by with a very cute baby in a stroller and I said ‘I am so looking forward to having grandchildren,’ and he grabbed me by the throat and said ‘I am the only person you should be concerned with. I am the only person who should be giving you pleasure.’ That is what happened.”
When probed as to whether she’d used cannabis, Lawson replied, “I have to say with some shame, I have to be honest, that I smoke the odd joint, starting I would say, in the last year of my marriage. It made an intolerable situation tolerable and it was a false friend and it is not a good idea. And I have to say I found the answer was in changing the situation and trying to create a tolerable situation for me and my family. I can say that since freeing myself from a brilliant and brutal man, I am now totally cannabis and drug free.”
Lawson is due back in court tomorrow for an expected two-hour cross-examination by Francesca Grillo’s attorney. If anything, this makes her immeasurably more likeable.
Photo: Ben Stansall via Getty