Assistant: Lawson on coke every three days

By Paul Cheston in London

Nigella Lawson. Photo / AP
Nigella Lawson. Photo / AP

Nigella Lawson was accused in court yesterday of failing to tell the truth in the witness box about her cocaine habit.

Lawson's former personal assistant Elisabetta Grillo told the jury she had seen evidence of the TV cook's drug use "every three days" at the family's Belgravia home.

Grillo said she saw rolled-up banknotes and white powder "regularly" as she cleaned the house.

Lawson's daughter, Mimi, told the assistant the "Domestic Goddess" smoked cannabis with her children, the court heard.

The cook's moods also swung wildly between "kisses" and being "mean", the jury was told.

Lawson told Isleworth Crown Court last week she had taken cocaine only once, in 2010, during her 10-year marriage to multi-millionaire art collector Charles Saatchi.

Yesterday Grillo was asked by her counsel Anthony Metzer QC: "Was Miss Lawson telling the truth?"

"No," she replied. "I saw more stuff before that."

But Grillo admitted she had never seen her employer take drugs or raised the subject with her because it would be "too embarrassing".

However, Grillo told the court she was certain Lawson knew that she knew about her drug abuse - but Saatchi did not know.

Before the 2003 marriage, Grillo claimed she had found "a little funny envelope of white powder" on top of the "loo toilet" in the family home in Shepherds Bush.

Lawson had previously told the jury she had taken cocaine six times with her then-husband John Diamond when he had terminal cancer.

When she married Saatchi and moved into the Eaton Square home, Grillo claimed she would find what she described as evidence of drug abuse "regularly".

Grillo, 41, and her sister Francesca, 35, deny defrauding Lawson and Saatchi of 685,000 ($1.36 million) by using corporate credit cards to buy themselves holidays and designer clothes.

- Independent

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