‘They took pictures, but didn’t help’ – Sunderland domestic violence worker’s anger over Nigella Lawson attack

Claire Phillipson, director of Wearside Women in Need.
Claire Phillipson, director of Wearside Women in Need.
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A DOMESTIC violence worker has condemned the lack of intervention after the public attack on Nigella Lawson by her husband.

Claire Phillipson from Wearside Women in Need says she is “astonished” no one tried to raise the alarm as art dealer Charles Saatchi grabbed his chef wife by the throat.

Ms Phillipson, who campaigns on domestic violence issues, said: “The worrying thing is that people did nothing to protect her.

“They were happy to sit around in silence taking pictures and selling them to national newspapers, but nobody thought of intervening.

“If a thief had grabbed her handbag off the table and ran off, I have no doubt people would have tried to help. But he had his hand wrapped around her throat and no one did anything. It’s astonishing.”

Saatchi had tried to claim the incident was no more than a “playful tiff” but then voluntarily attended a police station and accepted a formal caution.

The couple were sitting outside Scott’s in Mayfair, central London, when Saatchi, 70, appeared to lean over and grasp her neck. Nigella, 53, looked terrified before leaving the restaurant alone in floods of tears.

Ms Phillipson added: “I’m angered by the supreme confidence of this man who thinks he could get away with doing this in such a public place. It makes you think about what happens in private.

“This is someone he is supposed to protect and love, but here he is sitting in a restaurant and grabbing her throat.

“I’m pleased he has not just dismissed this and has gone into a police station and accepted some responsibility.”

A Scotland Yard spokesman confirmed: “A 70-year-old man attended a central London police station and accepted a caution for assault.”

Domestic abuse campaigners say they have made official complaints to the police regarding Saatchi’s behaviour. It is not known if Nigella has complained.