Nigella Lawson Accused of Cheating on Dying Husband
Celebrity chef Nigella Lawson leaves Isleworth Crown Court in west London December 5, 2013. Reuters

Nigella Lawson let her ­children smoke cannabis, a court has heard.

Former aide Elisabetta Grillo, on trial for fraud with sister Francesca, made the latest accusation to the jury at Isleworth Crown Court after lawyers asked her why she bought £69.71 of cigarettes at an airport in New York in 2010.

The 41-year-old said: "It was cigarettes for the children. I don't remember how many packets, but Nigella allowed me to buy that."

Prosecutor Jane Carpenter then asked: "What on earth were you doing buying cigarettes for underage children?"

Grillo replied: "Well if Nigella let the children smoke weed..." Judge Robin Johnson then interrupted her.

The court had previously heard how Nigella was given a Mother's Day card with a spliff in it.

Grillo has also accused the domestic goddess of lying over alleged drug use in court.

Nigella told the court last week she had taken cocaine but claimed she snorted it only seven times - six times with her first husband John Diamond before he died in 2001 and once more in 2010 - and denied she was an addict.

The Grillos, who are on trial for swindling Nigella and ex-husband Charles Saatchi out of £685,000, by using his company's credit card, however, insist they were allowed to use it to keep Nigella's drug use secret.

When asked if she had ever seen the food writer taking drugs, Grillo said: "No".

But she claims she found evidence of coke abuse "every three days" at the couple's £25 million mansion in London's Eaton Square. She also said she found a packet of white powder in a toilet in the home she shared with former husband, John Diamond, as well as rolled-up banknotes and credit cards with white powder on them.

Carpenter asked: "Is it your evidence that Ms Lawson has lied to this court?" Speaking quietly and with an Italian interpreter next to her, she replied: "Yes". Ms Carpenter shot back: "And Mr Saatchi?" Grillo replied: "Yes".

Anthony Metzer QC, defending Grillo, said: "The defence will assert that Nigella Lawson habitually indulged in use of Class A and Class B drugs and prescription drugs throughout the time the defendant was employed in the household. The evidence is of substantial importance as it explains why Ms Lawson initially consented to the expenditure."

Grillo admitted using Saathi's Conarco Partnership credit card to pay for dry cleaning, John Lewis kitchen items and Calvin Klein underwear. She said "generous" Nigella would let her buy clothes, £170 massages, spa treatments, shoes and holidays as presents.

She denied that she "took advantage" of the couple and said she always had their permission.

The sisters deny fraud and the trial continues.