Nigella Lawson’s Assistant ‘found Banknotes Coated With White Powder’

Francesca Grillo, who worked with the TV chef for 11 years, told a jury in her trial for fraud that she also found cannabis debris in the study where she would write her bestselling cookery books and that Lawson would also swig a prescription tranquilliser straight from bottles she kept in the kitchen and her bedroom in the house in Eaton Square, Belgravia. Grillo, with her sister Elisabetta, 41, denies the unauthorised spending of 685,000 on credit cards and taxi accounts supplied by Lawson’s ex-husband Charles Saatchi when they worked for the couple as domestic assistants. Lawson has given evidence that the spending was not authorised, but the sisters insist it was. The chef, 53, has also given evidence that she took cocaine six times before 2001 and only once since. Grillo said she never saw Lawson take drugs, but saw the first evidence of cocaine use when Lawson lived in Shepherd’s Bush with her first husband, John Diamond, who died in 2001. “I used to go there as a visitor,” she said. “Usually there were rolled-up banknotes once in the kitchen after a dinner party and another time it was the guest bedroom.” A few months after she started working at Eaton Square she saw rolled notes in Lawson’s handbags, when she had to change over the contents as part of her job or was looking for things when Lawson had mislaid them, which used to happen “very often”.
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