Nigella Lawson Probe: Police Following Up on Chef's Drug Admission

Tuesday, 24 Dec 2013 08:05 AM

By Michael Mullins

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Nigella Lawson’s drug admission in court earlier this month has led to a review by a specialist police task force.

The celebrity chef admitted to using cocaine and marijuana while testifying as a witness in a fraud trial involving two former aides. On Friday, Lawson vehemently denied being a habitual drug user, as was suggested by her aides and ex-husband Charles Saatchi during the trial.

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Despite Lawson’s denial and Metropolitan Police Service’s initial decision to not pursue the matter, authorities subsequently released a statement Sunday in which they attempted to "clarify [their] position."

"The senior investigating officer received legal advice that the witness's admissions did not by themselves provide sufficient evidence to bring charges. On that basis therefore, and in absence of any other corroboration, there is no imminent prospect of a prosecution being mounted," the statement read.

"As we said however, should any evidence come to light that can be investigated further, we will review this decision," the statement continued. "A specialist team from the MPS will nevertheless examine all the evidence emerging as part of a review into this matter and in conjunction with the Crown Prosecution Service, will determine an appropriate way forward."

Lawson’s former aides, sisters Francesca and Elisabetta Grillo, claimed to have seen signs of drug use around the house — including bags of white powder and rolled-up banknotes — although neither said they had seen Lawson using drugs, the Associated Press reported.

Though she admitted to using drugs, Lawson claimed the allegations were a distraction from the real matter at hand: the accusation that her former aides committed fraud. Lawson claimed the sisters ran up more than $1 million in unauthorized charges for household expenses via the credit cards that she and her former husband issued them.

The assistants were acquitted of fraud by a London jury on Friday.

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"Over the three week trial, the jury was faced with a ridiculous sideshow of false allegations about drug use which made focus on the actual criminal trial impossible," Lawson said in a statement, adding that she was "disappointed but unsurprised" by the verdict.

"I did my civic duty, only to be maliciously vilified without the right to respond," Lawson added.

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