Charles Saatchi devastated by Nigella's alleged cocaine habit and heartbroken over split, court hears
Charles Saatchi has told a jury of the moment he heard of his ex-wife Nigella Lawson’s “sorry depravity” as an alleged cocaine user and his “heartbreak” that their marriage is over.
Mr Saatchi said he was “very upset” when he was told Miss Lawson had a “severe cocaine habit” and “hated” the fact that it had been made public.
He also disclosed for the first time the reason Miss Lawson left him – that she felt confined by the relationship and needed a “pass” from Mr Saatchi to do things she wanted to.
During an impassioned afternoon in the witness box at the trial of two former aides accused of fraud, Mr Saatchi said he still “adored” his ex-wife and was “utterly bereft” that details of her alleged drug use had been publicised.
Mr Saatchi and Miss Lawson, who divorced in July, were accused earlier in the trial of “manipulating” the criminal justice system to sling mud at each other free from the threat of libel proceedings.
But Mr Saatchi told Isleworth Crown Court in London that nothing could be further from the truth.
He said: “I’m utterly heartbroken that I have lost Nigella and I wish this past year had never happened.
“If you think this process is giving me any pleasure, you’re mistaken. I hate it.
“I adore Nigella now, I absolutely adore Nigella and I’m broken-hearted to have lost her.”
The jury was told of an email sent by Mr Saatchi to Miss Lawson on October 10 this year, referring to two witness statements made by former aides Francesca and Elisabetta Grillo, in which they made allegations that Miss Lawson used cocaine, cannabis and prescription drugs on a daily basis.
The email said: “Nigella, I was sent this by a newspaper and could only laugh at your sorry depravity.
“Of course now the Grillo sisters will get off on the basis that you and Mimi [Miss Lawson’s daughter Cosima] were so off your heads on drugs you allowed the sisters to spend whatever they liked.
“And yes, I believe every word the Grillos have said, after all, they only stole money.
“You, Higella, on the other hand, poisoned your child with drugs and trashed her life but I’m sure it was all good fun and now everything is perfect today.
“Bravo, you have become a celebrity hostess on a global TV game show and you got the Pass you desired, free to heartily enjoy all the drugs you want forever. Classy!”
Part of the email had previously been read out, but this was the first time the whole text had been made public.
As the prosecutor, Jane Carpenter, asked him about the message, he interrupted her to say: “This email was sent to Nigella as a private email and it has suddenly become a public document.
“That was not my choosing, I did not issue this as a press release or a statement. It appears here because Nigella showed it to her lawyer; I don’t know why her lawyers then decided to hand it over to the Crown.
“I’m utterly bereft that this private note to Nigella has come back to haunt us both.”
He described the decision to hand the email to lawyers as “a terrible, terrible mistake” and suggested his ex-wife “thought there must have been an agenda it would serve”.
Asked what he meant when he referred to his ex-wife having a “Pass” to take drugs, he said: “In one of the very rare conversations I have had with Nigella since we split, I asked her whether she was happy and she said yes, she was happy. I said ‘What was this all about?’
“She said: ‘I’m happy because I don’t feel I have to ask for a pass to do what I feel like doing,’ and I said ‘You never had to ask for a pass. If you wanted to go for a girl’s night out or anything else you were completely free. What do you mean?’
“It wasn’t a very long conversation.”
He said his reference to her being able to take as many drugs as she wanted was him “being nasty” because he was “very upset” though he said he found the accounts of drug abuse given by the Grillo sisters “pretty compelling”.