Charles Saatchi accuses ex-wife Nigella Lawson of drug abuse

The millionaire art dealer said his former wife was "off her head on drugs" in a claim read out during the fraud trial of the pair's former PAs, Francesca and Elisabetta Grillo

Charles Saatchi has accused his ex-wife, Nigella Lawson, and her daughter of being “off [their] head[s]” on drugs. His claim was read out in court ahead of the fraud trial of two Italian sisters, Francesca and Elisabetta Grillo, who used to work as PAs to the celebrity couple and are accused of using a credit card given to them by their employers to buy goods for themselves.


The courtroom was read an email sent by Saatchi to his former spouse, predicting that the “Grillos will get off on the basis that you, Mimi (and another person) were so off your head on drugs you allowed them to spend whatever they liked.”

Mimi is Lawson’s daughter is from her first marriage to journalist John Diamond who passed away from throat cancer in 2001.

Judge Robin Johnson said the exchange between Saatchi and Lawson could be reported in the press, despite the trial at Isleworth Crown Court in west London not having started yet. Saatchi was asked by police to elaborate on his email to the celebrity chef – with Judge Johnson also reading his response to the courtroom: “At the time of sending the email I was completely astounded by the scale of drug use set out in the statements (from the defendants). Nevertheless I did believe the allegations that I’m referring to in the email.

“I have been asked whether it referred to a belief that Nigella or the children permitted the sisters to spend whatever they liked. I can’t remember precisely what I had in mind. On reflection, I was simply speculating that the sisters would use this information to defend themselves.” 

Both Grillo sisters deny the allegations of fraud which are alleged to have been committed between 1 January 2008 and 31 December 2012. Lawson is expected to give evidence during the trial which is set to last at least two weeks. 

Lawson and Saatchi divorced earlier this year on the grounds of his continuing unreasonable behaviour. Pictures published in a newspaper last June showed the multi-millionaire art dealer grabbing his wife’s throat on the terrace of Scott’s restaurant in Mayfair, an incident he later described as a “playful tiff”, despite accepting a police caution.