British celebrity chef Nigella Lawson faces a police investigation into claims of cocaine use which emerged during her personal assistants’ fraud trial after a U-turn by Scotland Yard, the Sunday Telegraph says.
Italian sisters Elisabetta and Francesca Grillo were cleared on Friday of fraudulently spending STG685,000 ($A1.27 million) on a company credit card owned by Lawson’s then-husband, the millionaire art collector Charles Saatchi.
The assistants claimed Lawson had allowed them to spend thousands of pounds on designer handbags, first-class flights and other luxuries if they kept quiet about her cocaine use.
Following the verdict, London’s Metropolitan Police said they would not be investigating allegations of drug use by the 53-year-old.
But Commander Stephen Watson on Saturday told the Telegraph that he didn’t think “the full colour of the Metropolitan Police Service’s position was conveyed in that statement”.
“We will use specialist resources from within the Metropolitan Police Service to examine all the evidence which emerged as part of a review into this matter,” explained the senior policeman.
“At some point once that review is included, presumably in conjunction with the Crown Prosecution Service (public prosecutor), we will determine a way forward.
“There are implications in terms of what has been said during the course of that trial and all those implications will be taken into account,” he added, according to the paper.
Lawson, a self-styled “domestic goddess” who has made a fortune with her TV series and cookbooks in Britain and the United States, insisted she was not addicted to drugs and had only used cocaine and cannabis occasionally in the past.
The glamorous TV chef complained during the trial that she was treated more like a defendant than a witness, after the assistants’ lawyers repeatedly grilled her about the drug allegations.
“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,” she said.