No bliss in do­mes­tic god­dess’s home

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PEOPLE - NEIL SEARS

LON­DON: Nigella Law­son moved out of the mar­i­tal home she shared with Charles Saatchi more than a year be­fore their break- up, it emerged this week in court.

Rather than liv­ing in the pala­tial fam­ily home near King’s Road in Chelsea, she moved south of the Thames to a prop­erty she owned in Bat­tersea, a three-storey £1.4 mil­lion (R23.3m) res­i­dence. She lived there with one of the women now on trial for steal­ing from her.

It was only in June this year that Saatchi was fa­mously pic­tured grab­bing his wife’s neck out­side a restau­rant. Af­ter he claimed it was just a “play­ful tiff ”, she left home for good. He ac­cepted a cau­tion for as­sault, and di­vorce fol­lowed promptly.

But when Saatchi’s art gallery fi­nance di­rec­tor Rahul Ga­j­jar was this week ques­tioned over the al­leged £685 000 fraud by the cou­ple’s for­mer as­sis­tants Francesca and Lisa Grillo, it emerged that the mar­riage may have been trou­bled long be­fore it ended.

Ga­j­jar had told the court when the Ital­ian sis­ters were ac­cused of spend­ing mas­sively to their own ben­e­fit on fam­ily credit cards, they were given the op­tion of both liv­ing rent­free while try­ing to pay back their al­legedly ill-got­ten gains.

The ac­coun­tant said that Francesca was in fact al­ready liv­ing rent-free in a prop­erty owned by Law­son in Bat­tersea, and Lisa was given the op­tion of join­ing her.

Ga­j­jar then re­vealed that in fact at that point, in July last year, Law­son was al­ready liv­ing in the Bat­tersea house af­ter leav­ing the home she shared with Saatchi. Ga­j­jar said: “At some point she moved out of the res­i­dence.”

He did not ex­plain why Law­son had left the fam­ily home, nor for how long.

But he said that al­though the Bat­tersea home was Law­son’s, Saatchi paid the coun­cil tax as well as the wa­ter, gas and elec­tric­ity bills.

Lisa Grillo ul­ti­mately turned down the op­tion of mov­ing in with her sis­ter and Law­son in Bat­tersea, and as the dis- pute with the celebrity cou­ple turned into a crim­i­nal prose­cu­tion, Francesca moved out of the prop­erty. The Grillo sis­ters are now liv­ing to­gether in a prop­erty in cen­tral Lon­don.

Law­son mean­while ev­i­dently moved back into the fam­ily home with Saatchi – al­though the house is so enor­mous that she and Saatchi had large sep­a­rate of­fices and rooms, with their three chil­dren also hav­ing their own kitch­enettes.

Law­son fi­nally left for good in June this year af­ter the furore over the photographs of her hus­band “throt­tling” her broke out.

She now lives with her two teenage chil­dren in a house in cen­tral Lon­don. – Daily Mail

PIC­TURE: REUTERS

UN­HAPPY: Tele­vi­sion chef Nigella Law­son moved out of the mar­i­tal home long be­fore she and Charles Saatchi split. .

TIFF: Saatchi was pic­tured as­sault­ing Law­son in a Lon­don restau­rant in June this year.

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