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'We may have won the legal battle, but Nigella won hearts'

Nigella Lawson's former personal assistants have said they may have won their legal battle but the celebrity chef has won the hearts of the public.

Elisabetta and Francesca Grillo spoke to ITV's This Morning show following their acquittal last month on charges of fraudulently using company credit cards, spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on designer goods for themselves, while working as personal assistants to Lawson and her ex-husband Charles Saatchi.

LOVED

But the Italian sisters claimed every purchase had been approved by their then bosses and were found not guilty after jurors at Isleworth Crown Court in west London deliberated for nine hours.

"We have won the court case but definitely she had the most support from the public. She is well loved and she will always be loved and I am sure she will be fine," Francesca Grillo (35) told the programme.

"She is great at what she is doing and I wish her all the best."

The TV cook whose series The Taste starts tonight on Channel 4 said last week her "only desire" during the trial had been to protect her children but "alas I couldn't always do".

The mother-of-two appeared on US TV show Good Morning America to promote her new show but was also asked about the court case, which saw her face allegations of drug-taking.

Asked what it was like to be a witness in the trial, Lawson told the programme: "I can't really remember exactly because you're so focused on answering the questions to the best of your ability that actually you don't really have an enormous awareness of yourself.

"Maybe that's a good thing. My only desire really was to protect my children as much as possible which... alas I couldn't always do."

MORTIFYING

Lawson added that having details of her acrimonious split from millionaire art dealer Mr Saatchi talked about in court under the glare of the world's media was "mortifying".

"To have not only your private life but distortions of your private life put on display is mortifying, but there are people going through an awful lot worse and to dwell on any of it would be self pity and I don't like to do that," she said.

But she said she was now focusing on the future.

hnews@herald.ie


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