Former Lawson PAs ‘begged for forgiveness’

 Sisters Elisabetta and Francesca Grillo, are accused of abusing their positions as PAs. Picture: PA

Two sisters accused of spending almost £700,000 (€836,000) on credit cards belonging to Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi wrote to the couple begging for forgiveness, a court has heard.

Elisabetta Grillo, 41, and Francesca Grillo, 35, who deny the charge, pleaded: “Somewhere in your hearts you will find a way to forgive us.”

Prosecutors claim the Italian sisters lived the “high life”, spending the money on designer clothes and handbags.

An email sent by the sisters to Ms Lawson and Mr Saatchi was read out to the jury at Isleworth Crown Court. It was also sent to Ms Lawson’s current PA, Anzelle Wasserman, who gave evidence yesterday.

“We are at our utmost despair and we are reaching out to you in the sincere hope that somewhere in your hearts you will find a way to forgive us and believe that we never meant in any way to seem to be disloyal or to seem like we took advantage of our positions,” the email read.

The sisters told the celebrity couple they believed they had a “bond like a family”.

The court was given an insight into the spending, which included thousands on flowers and concert tickets and cashmere jumpers costing more than €2,387 as a gift from Mr Saatchi to Ms Lawson.

The jury heard that Ms Wasserman put the sum on her credit card in July 2010 because the multimillionaire art dealer wanted his then wife to have the jumpers in every colour. Asked what the £2,250 (€2,686) sum to Shi Cashmere on the statement for her Coutts credit card linked to Mr Saatchi’s business was for, Ms Wasserman said: “That was a gift from Mr Saatchi to Ms Lawson. It’s a cashmere company that made made-to-fit cashmere jumpers and he wanted her to have all the colours and in two different styles.”

Mr Saatchi and Ms Lawson spent nearly £25,000 (€29,850) on flowers for the home over 17 months.

The court heard that between Mar 2011 and Aug 2012 the money was spent at florist Scarlet and Violet on Ms Wasserman’s Coutts credit card.

“That was the flowers for the household,” she said. “They came once a week and they arranged big vases of flowers for the house.”

The family spent £10,564.43 (€12,611) in Apr 2010 on VIP Glastonbury tickets for the couple’s children, via the website Tickets to See.

The sum was part of nearly £29,000 (€34,263) spent on the website between Jun 2008 and Sept 2012 on tickets for concerts and the theatre, the court heard.

Other payments on the card included £2,240 (€2,674) to Ralph Lauren, and £3,733.95 (€4,458) to Annabel’s private members club in Berkeley Square, London, for “Mr Saatchi’s red wine”.

She said she would spend about £4,000-5,000 per month on the card and was allowed to use it for personal spending, but only on instruction from Mr Saatchi or Ms Lawson for something specific like a birthday.

“It was always very clear what I was allowed to spend if it was personal,” she told the court.

If she did buy something for her self on the card, such as food for herself while shopping for the family, she would pay it back by putting cash into the petty cash, Ms Wasserman said.

Ms Lawson also paid £10,000 (€11,939) for the PA’s wedding party in February 2012, the court heard — a sum paid for using the Coutts card.

The case was adjourned until today at 10am.


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