- Charles Saatchi repeatedly grabbed wife Nigella Lawson by the neck
- TV cook and her husband, 70, were sat at favourite Mayfair restaurant
- At one point, Nigella seemed to plead with him as he held her throat
- Later it was claimed the 53-year-old left Scott’s restaurant in tears
Even for a couple whose relationship is said to be volatile, the pictures are shocking. Sat at their favourite Mayfair restaurant, Charles Saatchi repeatedly grabs his wife Nigella Lawson by the neck. At one point, the TV cook seems to plead with her 70-year-old husband as he holds her throat and her eyes widen. Later it was claimed she left the restaurant in tears. Yesterday, the pair declined to comment after they left their converted brewery home separately by taxis. However, police revealed that they were likely to question them about the incident.
The Metropolitan Police said that although no official complaint had been made by Miss Lawson, officers were ‘aware’ of the pictures and ‘inquiries are in hand to establish the facts of the incident’. ‘I have no doubt she was scared. It was horrific, really. She was very tearful and was constantly dabbing her eyes. Nigella was very, very upset. ‘It was utterly shocking to watch. I have no doubt she was scared. It was horrific, really‘ Witness
‘She had a real look of fear on her face. And yet she kissed him. She appeared to be a woman who loves him but was clearly unable to stop him being abusive, frightening and disrespectful to her.’ Neighbours of the couple also spoke of their ‘volatile’ relationship. One said they had previously heard the pair having a bitter argument loudly in the street. But the neighbours dismissed talks of a split saying they had been spotted walking happily hand-in-hand during the weekend. One said: ‘They’re both characters and if they did this I’m sure they made up straight away as I’ve seen them together looking happily recently.
‘They argue in the streets and are volatile at times but that could just be their form of passion. Those pictures do look unpleasant though.’ ‘They argue in the streets and are volatile at times but that could just be their form of passion‘ Neighbour said
The couple, who are thought to be worth £128million, had just finished eating outdoors at their favourite seafood restaurant Scott’s last Sunday when Mr Saatchi is reported to have started a heated and angry exchange with his wife. Miss Lawson, 53, looked tearful as he grabbed her neck four times, first with his left hand and then both. As he held her neck, they clutched hands across the table before Mr Saatchi tweaked her nose and used both wrists to push her face. Afterwards, Miss Lawson dabbed her tearful eyes in a napkin as he tapped his cigarettes impatiently upon the table.
She then gulped a whole glass of wine before appearing to attempt to pacify him with a trembling voice. During the attempted reconciliation, she leaned over the table and kissed his right cheek. Mr Saatchi, who helped mastermind former prime minister Margaret Thatcher’s election campaigns, then marched off from the table before his wife followed while wiping away her tears. It is not the first time the couple have been seen arguing publicly, but the first that has apparently involved him manhandling her.
Miss Lawson has recently spent a lot of time travelling across the US promoting her new book and successful television series. The couple live in a £12million former 18th century brewery and gas engineer works that they have spent hundreds of thousands of pounds converting since they bought the seven-bedroom home in 2010. Miss Lawson has two children, Cosima, 19, and Bruno, 17, with her husband John Diamond, who she met while they worked at The Sunday Times. She moved in with Mr Saatchi, who was a friend of her first husband, nine months after he died of throat cancer aged 41 and shortly after her debut cooking television show Nigella Bites aired.
Bruno yesterday helped his mother into a black taxi before Mr Saatchi left in another cab shortly afterwards. Both refused to answer questions about the incident but they were photographed together at the same restaurant on Saturday. In a recent interview, Miss Lawson revealed that she was physically abused by her mother when she was a child. A violent and depressive woman, Vanessa Salmon – who married former Conservative Chancellor Nigel Lawson, would lash out at her and her brother, former Sunday Telegraph editor Dominic, when they made too much noise, she claimed.
A spokesman for Miss Lawson also declined to comment. Domestic violence is a top priority crime in the capital, and senior officers will want to investigate even without a complaint from the victim. A Met Police spokesman said: ‘Officers are aware. Inquiries are in hand to establish the facts of the incident.’ A Scott’s spokesman said: ‘The staff at Scott’s are aware of the allegations in the media today but did not see anything untoward happen within the restaurant. As this is now a police matter we cannot comment further.’