British art collector Charles Saatchi has accepted a police caution for assault following an incident with his wife, celebrity chef Nigella Lawson, outside a London restaurant.
The Sunday People tabloid showed pictures of Saatchi, a wealthy 70-year-old former advertising executive, with his hand around Lawson’s neck as they sat at a table outside a seafood restaurant.
The publicity-shy art collector, who owns London’s Saatchi Gallery, agreed to accept a police caution on Monday, according to media reports Tuesday.
“A 70-year-old man voluntarily attended a central London police station and accepted a caution for assault,” London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement.
It said officers were aware of the Sunday People article “and carried out an investigation”.
Cautions are handed to adults who admit a minor offence and can be used as evidence of bad character in court. A suspect who does not accept a caution may be arrested and charged. They are not criminal convictions.
Saatchi told the London Evening Standard newspaper: “We were sitting outside a restaurant having an intense debate about the children, and I held Nigella’s neck repeatedly while attempting to emphasise my point.
“There was no grip, it was a playful tiff.”
He said they had patched things up by the time they got home.
He said he had told his wife, a daughter of 1980s British finance minister Nigel Lawson, to leave their home with her two children until the “dust settled”.
[Image via Agence France-Presse]