June 18, 2013 at 8:24 AM ET
British police have cautioned the husband of celebrity chef Nigella Lawson, allowing the former advertising executive to admit he assaulted his wife but avoid any formal charges.
The admission came a day after numerous photographs surfaced of Charles Saatchi grabbing his wife’s throat during what appeared to be a heated argument at a London restaurant. The 70-year-old Saatchi later tried to downplay the images, saying they captured the couple in a “playful tiff” at a moment when he was trying to make a point. He said the couple made up by the time they got home, although he suggested Lawson “take the kids off till the dust settled.”
Saatchi has been married to Lawson, 53, for nearly a decade. The television personality has two children from her first marriage to John Diamond, who died of throat cancer in 2001.
Representatives for Lawson have not commented about the incident. But Saatchi's comments, reported by the London paperthe Evening Standard, have outraged women's rights groups in Britain and fueled a debate about domestic violence.
Police say Saatchi accepted a “caution for assault” after being questioned for several hours. A caution is a formal warning but carries no penalty or conviction.