'Saatchi said he would destroy me – he was very controlling'
NIGELLA Lawson explained yesterday for the first time the story behind the now infamous row in Scott's restaurant.
Turning to the couple's public row in Scott's restaurant in Mayfair in June, when Mr Saatchi was photographed grabbing Ms Lawson by the throat and pinching her nose, she said: "He told everyone that he was taking cocaine out of my nose in Scotts – that is a lie.
"I will tell you what happened. Someone walked by with a very sweet baby in a stroller and I said: 'I'm so looking forward to having grandchildren' and he grabbed me by the throat and said: "I'm the only person you should be concerned with, I'm the only person who should be giving you pleasure."
She said this was an "almost verbatim account," and added: "I have never spoken about it before and I don't intend to ever again.
"Mr Saatchi accepted a police caution for assault, that tells you everything you need to know."
Ms Lawson told prosecutors in October she no longer wanted to give evidence for the prosecution, and was asked why this was.
She said: "My relations with Mr Saatchi were not good. He said to me that if I didn't go back to him and clear his name he would destroy me and also started spreading false allegations of drug use . . . I felt his way of getting this out was to use this case."
He "menaced" her in August with threats of drug allegations, which later appeared on an internet blog "dedicated to salvaging Mr Saatchi's reputation and savaging mine".
She said: "I felt that this would not become a fraud case, I would be put on trial and actually that's what has happened.
"I have been put on trial here, where I am bound to answer the allegations and it comes after a long summer of bullying and abuse and I find it just like another chapter in that."
She accused the Grillo sisters of using "blackmail as a defence" as "they cashed in on the cards and they are cashing in my reputation". She had decided to come to court "because I felt I had to do my civic duty".
Ms Lawson said Mr Saatchi had a "temper" and "did not like to take part in family life".
He would "shout and swear" at her and she told Elisabetta Grillo: "I don't know how long I can take this."
It would "irritate" Mr Saatchi that she was financially independent, as "someone having money, it can be used to wield power" and he was "a very controlling person", she said.
Mr Metzer, representing Elisabetta Grillo, asked Ms Lawson if her background "conflicted" with Mr Saatchi's as her lifestyle was more "liberal, bohemian and gregarious".
She replied: "I don't understand why my marriage is pertinent to you."
Throughout her evidence Ms Lawson, who said her marriage had been "doomed", referred to her ex-husband only as "Mr Saatchi" and glared at Mr Metzer when he accidentally called her "Miss Saatchi" at one point, saying: "What did you call me?!"
Mr Saatchi threatened to sue his ex-wife if she refused to give evidence in the case, because, said Ms Lawson, "part of this campaign is to ruin me in whatever way, and if that is financial as well so be it".
"I think it would be 'Get her, I don't care what it takes, I don't care what it costs, do whatever it takes'."