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London police: Man accepts warning in Nigella Lawson incident

By Josh Levs, CNN
updated 9:28 AM EDT, Tue June 18, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: A man accepted a warning related to the alleged incident, London police say
  • Nigella Lawson and her children have moved out of their home, a spokesman says
  • Lawson's husband, Charles Saatchi, denies a report that he attacked her
  • Sunday People published photos of Saatchi's hand apparently holding Lawson's neck

(CNN) -- Amid British tabloid reports over the weekend that celebrity chef Nigella Lawson was grabbed around the neck by her husband, Charles Saatchi, London police said Monday that a man accepted a warning related to the case.

London's Metropolitan Police say a 70-year-old man "accepted a caution for assault" at a police station on Monday afternoon.

Police did not name the man, but several UK media outlets named him as Saatchi.

"Officers from the community safety unit at Westminster were aware of the Sunday People article which published on Sunday 16th June and carried out an investigation," a Metropolitan Police spokesman told CNN.

Report: Nigella Lawson choked by husband

"This afternoon Monday 17th June, a 70-year-old man voluntarily attended a central London police station and accepted a caution for assault," the spokesman said.

CNN contacted Saatchi's company for comment but has not received a response.

According to a UK government website, a caution is issued for minor crimes.

Opinion: The rich and famous are not immune to domestic abuse

"Cautions are given to adults aged 18 or over for minor crimes - eg writing graffiti on a bus shelter," the website says.

"You have to admit an offence and agree to be cautioned. If you don't agree, you can be arrested and charged.

"A caution is not a criminal conviction, but it could be used as evidence of bad character if you go to court for another crime."

Sunday People, part of the stable of tabloids published by the Mirror Group, published the photos Sunday of Lawson and Saatchi at a restaurant.

The tabloid's website includes the caption: "Nigella Lawson attacked in public by Charles Saatchi."

Earlier a representative for Lawson confirmed that the chef and her children had moved out of their home. Saatchi also denied the reports of an attack in another British newspaper.

"About a week ago, we were sitting outside a restaurant having an intense debate about the children, and I held Nigella's neck repeatedly while attempting to emphasize my point," Saatchi, an art dealer and former advertising mogul, told The Evening Standard.

"There was no grip, it was a playful tiff. The pictures are horrific but give a far more drastic and violent impression of what took place. Nigella's tears were because we both hate arguing, not because she had been hurt," he added. "We had made up by the time we were home. The paparazzi were congregated outside our house after the story broke yesterday morning, so I told Nigella to take the kids off till the dust settled."

The restaurant involved told CNN that its employees did not witness any such incident.

Lawson's Facebook page is filled with messages from fans expressing their support for her.

Lawson is known as the "queen of food porn." She has written numerous successful cookbooks and hosted TV shows.

Watch a CNN interview with Nigella Lawson

CNN's Richard Greene and Bharati Naik contributed to this report.

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