Police are looking into reports of an alleged row involving celebrity chef Nigella Lawson and her husband, Charles Saatchi.
The inquiries follow the emergence of photographs which appear to show wealthy art collector Charles, 70, gripping his wife, 53, by the throat as they dine outside at a restaurant in London.
The row could reportedly be seen and heard by other customers at the exclusive seafood restaurant Scott”s.
PHOTOS TO ENLARGE
“It was utterly shocking to watch,” recalled one onlooker.
“I have no doubt she was scared. It was horrific, really. She was very tearful and was constantly dabbing her eyes. Nigella was very, very upset.”
On Sunday, both parties declined to comment as they left their converted brewery home in Chelsea by taxis. Nigella was seen carrying a suitcase.
Scotland Yard said that officers from the Community Safety Unit are “carrying out preliminary inquiries” after the photographs were published.
“Inquiries are in hand to establish the facts in order to assess whether an investigation is necessary,” said a spokesperson.
Police confirmed that they had not received a complaint of assault from Nigella or anyone else.
“No allegation has been made, and we have not spoken to any of the principles,” they added.
The incident is reported to have taken place a week ago, and Nigella has chosen not to make any reference to the photographs on her Twitter page.
Nigella married Charles in 2003. Her two children, Cosima and Bruno, are from her first mirage to journalist John Diamond, who died in 2001 from throat cancer.