Nigella Lawson was assaulted by her husband Charles Saatchi during a row at a restaurant during which he grabbed her by the throat. In the photographs published in The Sunday People, the television chef appears to have become embroiled in a violent dispute with the wealthy art dealer.
The couple were sitting outside Scott’s in Mayfair, central London, when he appeared to lean over and grab her by the throat. Lawson (53), looked terrified before leaving the restaurant alone in floods of tears.
A witness told the newspaper: “It was utterly shocking to watch. 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. She had a real look of fear on her face.” A Scotland Yard spokesman said no complaint was believed to have been made about the incident and that no investigation had been launched.
The row occurred shortly after the couple had finished eating at the seafood restaurant, a popular haunt for celebrities. They were at their favourite table, which is outside because Saatchi smokes.
Onlookers claimed Lawson dabbed her eyes on a napkin as her husband tapped his cigarettes on the table. She is then said to have downed her glass of red wine before beginning to speak in a trembling voice, placing a hand on his left wrist on the table. At one point, she leaned over and kissed his cheek.
A couple on an adjacent table reportedly turned around and gasped as they saw Lawson become distraught but nobody intervened, despite the apparent severity of the attack.
The witness added: “He looked guilty. It was clear he knew he’d done something wrong. He was menacing, there’s no question. She had been abused and humiliated in public. No man should do that to a woman. She raised her voice and got angry but at the same time was trying to calm him down, almost like you would try to calm down a child. The kiss was a strange thing.
He was being intimidating, threatening.” The witness added, “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.” She has previously admitted that she and Saatchi have fiery rows and has described her husband as ‘an exploder’.