CHARLES Saatchi remains on the warpath. He has now launched a new character assassination on his ex-wife, Nigella Lawson.
In the latest twist in the saga, Saatchi has attacked her parenting skills after she admitting during the recent court case that she had taken drugs in front of her child in the recent court case.
Saatchi, 70, was highly critical of his ex-wife's drugs use, saying: "The truth is that she was taking illegal drugs secretly throughout the last few years of our marriage, often with her own child when she (Lawson's daughter) was far too young to even smoke or drink."
Apparently upset that Lawson, who is in Spain on holiday after celebrating her 54th birthday, has won the public relations battle against him, Saatchi continued his onslaught with a further sideswipe against the media and another against his ex-wife.
But in making the outburst, he now risks cementing his position as the pantomime villain.
In his statement, Saatchi went on to say of his ex-wife's drug use: "That this practice seems to be considered acceptable behaviour in sections of the press is deeply disturbing, as is the notion that you can teach your children that drugs are a justifiable way to make 'an unbearable situation bearable'."
ANALYSIS PAGE 18
The outburst is in contrast to his testimony at Isleworth Crown Court in November, during the trial of two sisters accused -- and subsequently cleared -- of defrauding him.
During the trial, Saatchi testified: "I have never, never seen any evidence of Nigella taking any drugs whatsoever. I want to be helpful, but I genuinely have no real knowledge at all."
In response to one question at the trial, he said: "Are you asking me whether I think Nigella truly was off her head?
"Not for a second. Over this whole period she was writing books very successfully and appearing on television shows very successfully."
Saatchi's latest comments come after hearing Lawson's own evidence. In her testimony, she admitted smoking cannabis in front of her children. She also said she took cocaine on six occasions, to help her cope with her first husband John Diamond's terminal cancer and latterly as her marriage to Saatchi began to break down. She has vehemently denied claims that she regularly took drugs.
The couple's marriage disintegrated following the publication of photographs showing Saatchi with his hands around Lawson's throat at Scott's, a restaurant in Mayfair.
Saatchi, it has been learnt, gave the restaurant staff more than £1,000 (€1,200) to share as a Christmas present.
"Charles was very grateful for all the help they had given him throughout the year," one of his friends said yesterday.