Photographer defends Nigella Lawson pictures

Last updated 08:58 24/06/2013
Fairfax Australia

Charles Saatchi says photos published of his hands around his wife Nigella Lawson's neck appear 'horrific', but show nothing but 'a playful tiff'.

Nigella Lawson
NIGELLA LAWSON: A TV cooking institution.

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The photographer who took pictures of Nigella Lawson being assaulted by her husband says the attack lasted for "27 minutes of madness" but he didn't intervene because he feared being arrested himself.

Snapper Jean-Paul says the incident outside a London restaurant shouldn't be brushed under the carpet and the celebrity chef Lawson was "properly abused" by art collector husband Charles Saatchi.

"What I witnessed was 27 minutes of madness," Jean-Paul wrote in the British tabloid Sunday People, which first published his shocking pictures last weekend.

"That's how long the abuse lasted from start to finish so it was most definitely not a fleeting moment."

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg came under fire last week for suggesting Saatchi's clutching of his wife's throat could have been "just a fleeting thing".

Government minister Alistair Burt on Saturday said he would have intervened if he had witnessed the assault on the celebrity chef and there should be "no toleration" of violence against women.

Jean-Paul said people had asked why he didn't intervene but the answer was simple.

"I would have been arrested," he wrote on Sunday.

"I'm paparazzi so everyone hates you to begin with.

"The best thing I could do was carry on taking the pictures because now everyone can see that Charles Saatchi is an abuser."

The celebrity photographer said knowing his pictures had been seen all over the world was "so special".

"I am proud because as a photographer you want to be in the paper but you also want to take pictures that mean something.

"This will be talked about for years."

Saatchi has accepted a police caution over the incident.

The 70-year-old former advertising executive admitted the pictures looked "horrific" but dismissed it as a "playful tiff" and insisted he accepted the caution to stop it "hanging over" them.

Sunday People also reports a "well-placed aide" claims Lawson, 53, is "broken and desolate" following the incident.

"Neither she nor Charles are interested in counselling or trying to save the marriage," the tabloid reports the aide as saying.

"It seems they are done."

The newspaper notes the celebrity chef was seen out and about on Friday without her wedding ring.

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- AAP

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