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.

News
Pro-Russia rebels guard a train containing the bodies of victims of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH 17 crash in Torez, Ukraine
i100
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>
filmRobert Downey Jr named Hollywood's highest paid actor for second year running
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Property
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
News
people
News
The Commonwealth flag flies outside Westminster Abbey in central London
news
Arts and Entertainment
Struggling actors who scrape a living working in repertory theatres should get paid a 'living wage', Sir Ian McKellen has claimed
theatre
News
Skye McCole Bartusiak's mother said she didn't use drink or drugs
peopleActress was known for role in Mel Gibson film The Patriot
Arts and Entertainment
tvWebsite will allow you to watch all 522 shows on-demand
Arts and Entertainment
filmThe Rock to play DC character in superhero film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Damon Albarn is starting work on a new West End musical
artsStar's 'leftfield experimental opera' is turning mainstream
Life and Style
Paul and his father
artsPaul Carter wants to play his own father in the film of his memoirs
Sport
Ben Stokes trudges off after his latest batting failure for England as Ishant Sharma celebrates one of his seven wickets
cricket
Arts and Entertainment
Members of the public are invited to submit their 'sexcapades' to Russell T Davies' new series Tofu
tv
News
Sky's Colin Brazier rummages through an MH17 victim's belongings live on air
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game
arts + ents'The Imitation Game' stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor