News Courts

Friday 29 August 2014

Nigella jury is sent home as one of Grillo sisters is taken ill

Lauren Turner and Catherine Wylie

Published 20/12/2013 | 02:30

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Sisters Elisabetta (left) and Francesca Grillo, former personal assistants to Charles Saatchi and Nigella Lawson arriving at Isleworth Crown Court
Sisters Elisabetta (left) and Francesca Grillo, former personal assistants to Charles Saatchi and Nigella Lawson arriving at Isleworth Crown Court

THE jury in the trial of two former personal assistants accused of defrauding Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi has been sent home for the night, having been told that one of the defendants was "not well".

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Francesca Grillo (35) and her sister Elisabetta (41) are alleged to have used company credit cards to spend £685,000 (€820,000) on items, including designer shoes and clothes, for themselves.

They had been employed as PAs by the TV cook and her multi-millionaire art dealer ex-husband, who were divorced earlier this year.

Judge Robin Johnson told the jury of seven men and five women as he asked them to return to Isleworth Crown Court in west London this morning: "You will have noticed that neither defendant is in the dock. One of them is not feeling well. I have no doubt it is a genuine feeling not well and I have allowed her sister to be with her. I am sure you won't hold that against them."

The jurors had been sent out to deliberate on their verdict at 10.20am yesterday, following the three-week trial.

Mr Saatchi has been accused of using the trial against the Grillo sisters to "attack" his former wife, from whom he was divorced earlier this year.

Defence counsel for Elisabetta said she had been caught in the "cross-fire" between the former couple.

The Grillos, of Kensington Gardens Square, Bayswater, west London, each deny a single count of committing fraud by using a company credit card for personal gain between January 1, 2008, and December 31 last year.

Irish Independent

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