Nigella Lawson evidence: Scotland Yard review shows this is a test of police’s attitude to celebrity drug use

Scotland Yard had initially said it would not take action but would review the decision if new evidence came to light

Police are to review evidence following TV chef Nigella Lawson's admission in court that she took cocaine.

Nigella Lawson must have been hoping that the end of the fraud trial involving her former PAs would allow her to escape allegations of drug-taking at the home she shared with her ex-husband Charles Saatchi. So she would have been disappointed to pick up the papers on Sunday to find that her courtroom admission that she used cocaine and cannabis is further to be investigated by Scotland Yard.

Despite initially signalling that there would be no criminal inquiry, the Metropolitan Police has now said Ms Lawson’s evidence will form part of a review carried out with prosecutors. The force said it was seeking to “clarify its position” following media questioning over its handling of the case. It said: “A specialist team from the Metropolitan Police Service will examine the evidence emerging as part a review into this matter, in conjunction with the Crown Prosecution Service, to determine an appropriate way forward.”

The apparent U-turn follows comments by one of the force’s most senior officers, Commander Stephen Watson, who said in an interview that police will study the transcripts of the trial to examine the “implications” of her testimony. Ms Lawson could be questioned by detectives and asked where she got her drugs, while social services might also want to discuss claims that illegal substances were used in front of children.

At Isleworth Crown Court, Ms Lawson admitted taking cocaine on seven occasions – six times with her late husband John Diamond after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and once during the break-up of her marriage to Mr Saatchi in 2010.

Scotland Yard said there was “no imminent prospect” of a prosecution against Ms Lawson after the senior investigating officer in the case was advised by lawyers that, without further corroboration, her admissions did not provide sufficient evidence to proceed. In Britain the prohibition of drugs is based on their possession, not their use. It is also unusual for a witness who incriminate themselves during a trial to be prosecuted.

Danny Kushlick, of the charitable think-tank Transform, which campaigns on drugs policy, said further action would not be in the public interest. “Celebrities are going to get it in the neck but I don’t think there is any sense that celebrities are more likely to be let off. In this case she has not been caught in possession. There is no evidence so there is no chance of a prosecution,” he said.

However, the police have acted in the past when celebrities have been the subject of media stories of alleged drug abuse. In 1999, the veteran BBC DJ Johnnie Walker was fined £2,000 after admitting using cocaine when he was the subject of a tabloid sting by the News of the World.

In 2005 the then Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair revealed he was involved in the decision to investigate Kate Moss following allegations of drug use published in the Daily Mirror. She was questioned under caution by detectives. The sisters Francesca and Elisabetta Grillo were found not guilty of fraud, and Ms Lawson claimed the case was part of a campaign to destroy her reputation and said she was unable to rebut the allegations made against her in court.

Her lawyers assert that no evidence was offered to suggest her drug use went beyond that to which she had admitted and that no witnesses claimed to have seen her taking drugs. One of the key planks of the defence case was an email written by Mr Saatchi in which he suggested that his former wife and another member of the household were “so off your heads on drugs” that the PAs were able to spend the couple’s money unchallenged. The defence claimed that Ms Lawson had allowed the spending to cover up her cocaine use.

Giving evidence, however, the 70-year-old advertising guru distanced himself from the email, describing it as a “nasty statement” and admitted that he had never seen Ms Lawson taking drugs.

Ms Lawson meanwhile issued a statement on Sunday that said: “I will survive this and move forward. I just want to focus on family life and work.”

It was reported that the Grillos are reported to be planning to sue Ms Lawson and Mr Saatchi for defamation following their acquittal.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
News
Outspoken: Alexander Fury, John Rentoul, Ellen E Jones and Katy Guest
newsFrom the Scottish referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Arts and Entertainment
L to R: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) & Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers Assemble
film
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams' “Happy” was the most searched-for song lyric of 2014
musicThe power of song never greater, according to our internet searches
Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
Voices
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers
voicesIt has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Roffey says: 'All of us carry shame and taboo around about our sexuality. But I was determined not to let shame stop me writing my memoir.'
books
News
i100
News
Caplan says of Jacobs: 'She is a very collaborative director, and gives actors a lot of freedom. She makes things happen.'
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015