Celebrity cook Nigella Lawson has been accused of lying about the extent of her drug use, with her assistant claiming she regularly found rolled-up £20 notes and credit cards with white powder at the celebrity's home.
Elisabetta Grillo, 41, who Lawson referred to as her "rock" during Grillo's trial for fraud at Isleworth Crown Court in London earlier this month, said she saw evidence of cocaine use "every three days," London's Daily Telegraph reported.
Grillo, who was accused of spending £105,000 (NZ$208,000) on a company credit card, also said Lawson smoked cannabis when she could not sleep.
According to Lawson, 53, Grillo had worked with the cook for years, helping her overcome the trauma of her first husband's death in 2001. Lawson told the jury that she had "loved" Grillo.
"I loved Lisa. My children loved Lisa," said Lawson, who had showered Grillo with gifts, including a £7000 set of false teeth. But Lawson said her employee became increasingly bitter and unkind towards the celebrity cook's children.
When asked whether her employer had been telling the truth about taking cocaine only once during her marriage to Charles Saatchi in 2010, Grillo replied: "No, because I saw more stuff before that."
The court heard Lawson would smoke cannabis in front of her children to help her sleep, and that she kept antidepressants and sleeping tablets in her bedside table.
Grillo said one of Lawson's children told her "it was easy to ask for presents" when Lawson was "tipsy or high".
Lawson told the court last week that she had only taken cocaine once in her marriage and was not a regular cocaine user.
"I promise you... regular cocaine users do not look like this," she said.
"They are scrawny and look unhealthy."
She said she would never sabotage her health and "leave my children as orphans".
Lawson had appeared as a prosecution witness at the fraud trial of Elisabetta and her sister Francesca Grillo, long-time employees who worked as nannies, cleaners and assistants in the couple's home.
Coverage of the trial has focused more on Lawson's 10-year marriage to Saatchi and their home life, than on allegations that the the Grillo sisters were living the high life at the couple's unknowing expense.
- Sydney Morning Herald