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Dublin: 8°C Tuesday 15 June 2021

Charles Saatchi given police caution after grasping Nigella Lawson's throat

Photos published at the weekend showed the 70-year-old art collector with his hand around his wife’s neck at a restaurant.

The Sunday People published photographs showing Charles Saatchi with his hand around the neck of his wife, TV chef Nigella Lawson.
The Sunday People published photographs showing Charles Saatchi with his hand around the neck of his wife, TV chef Nigella Lawson.
Image: Nick Sutton via Twitter

ART COLLECTOR Charles Saatchi has been cautioned over a dramatic assault on his TV presenter wife Nigella Lawson, captured by a tabloid photographer just outside a fancy London restaurant.

Saatchi, 70, had accepted the official warning after a five-hour grilling over dramatic photographs published in the Sunday People, which showed him grasping Lawson’s throat.

The Daily Mirror published photographs of what it said showed Saatchi taking a cab back from a London police station.

Under British law, a caution is a formal warning given to someone who admits a minor offence. It carries no penalty, but it can be used as evidence of bad character if a person is later prosecuted for a different crime.

When asked about Saatchi, London’s Metropolitan Police said that a 70-year-old man had been cautioned for assault after voluntarily attending a police station following an investigation into the pictures published by the Sunday People.

The force didn’t mention Saatchi by name — authorities in Britain rarely identify suspects who haven’t been charged — but such statements are routinely understood as confirmation of media reports.

Contact information for Saatchi couldn’t immediately be located, but the collector had earlier told the London Evening Standard newspaper that the photos misrepresented a “playful tiff.”

‘Far more violent impression of what took place’

Saatchi, an Evening Standard columnist, said “the pictures are horrific but give a far more drastic and violent impression of what took place.”

“About a week ago, we were sitting outside a restaurant having an intense debate about the children, and I held Nigella’s neck repeatedly while attempting to emphasize my point,” he was quoted as saying. “There was no grip, it was a playful tiff.”

The 70-year-old Saatchi also told the paper the couple “had made up by the time we were home.

“The paparazzi were congregated outside our house after the story broke yesterday morning, so I told Nigella to take the kids off till the dust settled.”

Lawson’s spokesman, Mark Hutchinson, confirmed that she and her children had left the family home but declined to comment further.

Saatchi and Lawson married in 2003 and live in London with Lawson’s son and daughter from her marriage to journalist John Diamond, who died of cancer in 2001, and Saatchi’s daughter from a previous marriage.

Lawson, 53, gained fame with her 1998 best-seller ‘How To Eat’ and subsequent ‘How to Be a Domestic Goddess’ (2000), and is one of Britain’s best-known cookbook writers, as well as the host of foodie TV shows including ‘Nigella Bites’ and ABC’s cooking program ‘The Taste’.

Lawson is one of the few British food personalities to have had real success in the United States, both on television and with her cookbooks. She has often made the point that she is not a trained chef, but is simply showing people what they can do in their own kitchens.

She is known for her sensual style on television, once calling her shows “gastroporn”.

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Associated Press

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