Nigella’s aides are acquitted of fraud
LONDON: Two of Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi’s former aides have been acquitted of defrauding the celebrity couple of nearly £700 000 (R11.9 million).
This follows a threeweek trial in which the court heard astonishing allegations that Lawson snorted cocaine and smoked cannabis.
Italian sisters Elisabetta and Francesca Grillo used company credit cards to spend the money on items for themselves, including designer shoes and clothes, the court was told.
The court heard that they went on a “shop until you drop” trip to New York, stayed at the Ritz Hotel in Paris and spent thousands of pounds on designer clothes.
They maintained that the spending had been authorised.
Elisabetta, 41, was taken ill on Thursday and an ambulance was called to the court while the jury was deliberating.
She was suffering from panic attacks and high blood pressure as the jury deliberated and was seen apparently collapsing in the court reception area.
When the panel was sent out again yesterday the sisters were not in the dock. Judge Robin Johnson explained that one of them was unwell because a criminal trial was stressful.
During the case, Lawson dramatically revealed that she had smoked cannabis in front of her children and snorted cocaine.
The TV celebrity cook, 53, told the court she had turned to cocaine in 2010 after being subjected to “intimate terrorism” by Charles Saatchi.
She also admitted snorting the drug six times while married to her late husband John Diamond, who died from throat cancer in 2001.
She denied claims by the Grillo sisters that she had taken drugs regularly over the last 10 years.
Saatchi and Lawson divorced earlier this year. Lawson says she is happy to move on with her life. – Daily Mail