Charles Saatchi cautioned for Nigella Lawson assault

Charles Saatchi Charles Saatchi went voluntarily to a police station, where he was cautioned

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Art collector Charles Saatchi has been cautioned for assault after images of him grasping his wife, Nigella Lawson, by the neck appeared in a newspaper.

He said he voluntarily went to a police station to accept the caution as "it was better than the alternative of this hanging over all of us for months".

Scotland Yard earlier confirmed that a 70-year-old man "accepted a caution for assault" on Monday afternoon.

Celebrity chef Ms Lawson has not commented.

Images of the couple outside the restaurant appeared in the Sunday People 'Nigella's tears were because we both hate arguing,' Mr Saatchi reportedly said

According to London's Evening Standard, Mr Saatchi said: "Although Nigella made no complaint, I volunteered to go to Charing Cross station and take a police caution after a discussion with my lawyer because I thought it was better than the alternative of this hanging over all of us for months."

Mr Saatchi had reportedly said on Monday that the photos in the Sunday People showed "a playful tiff".

'No grip'

Announcing the caution late on Monday night, Scotland Yard said "officers from the community safety unit at Westminster were aware of the Sunday People article which was published on Sunday 16 June and carried out an investigation".

The photos were taken about a week ago in London, at Scott's restaurant in Mayfair.

Cautions

  • Two kinds: Simple and conditional
  • A simple caution is a formal warning given by a police officer and does count towards a criminal record. In order for a caution to be issued, someone has to admit an offence and agree to be cautioned. If they don't, they could be charged.
  • A conditional caution requires the person cautioned to stick to certain rules and restrictions. If they don't, they could be charged with a crime.
  • A caution is not a criminal conviction, but it could be used as evidence of bad character if the person goes to court for another crime.
  • The government is reviewing how police forces across the country issue cautions, over concerns that too many are being given at present

Source: Gov.uk

The restaurant issued a statement, saying: "The staff and management at Scott's are aware of the reports in the media and would like to make it clear that they did not see the alleged incident nor were they alerted to it at the time."

In Monday's Evening Standard, Mr Saatchi said: "About a week ago, we were sitting outside a restaurant having an intense debate about the children, and I held Nigella's neck repeatedly while attempting to emphasise my point.

"There was no grip, it was a playful tiff.

"Nigella's tears were because we both hate arguing, not because she had been hurt.

"We had made up by the time we were home. The paparazzi were congregated outside our house after the story broke yesterday morning, so I told Nigella to take the kids off till the dust settled."

Mr Saatchi, a former advertising executive, and Ms Lawson have been married since 2003.

She has two children, Cosima and Bruno, from her marriage to journalist John Diamond, who died in 2001.

Ms Lawson's spokesman confirmed on Monday that she had left the family home on Sunday with her children, but did not say whether it was a permanent or temporary move.

The daughter of former Conservative chancellor Nigel Lawson, Ms Lawson first began a restaurant column in The Spectator in 1985 and by the following year had become deputy literary editor of The Sunday Times.

She then went on to write the book How to Eat, followed by the award-winning book, How to be a Domestic Goddess.

Her television cookery programmes - including Nigella Bites and Nigella's Christmas Kitchen - have brought her international fame.

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