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Nigella's husband insists row was 'playful tiff'

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Nigella Lawson's husband Charles Saatchi has claimed that the shocking photographs of him gripping his wife's throat during an argument depict a "playful tiff" and that Nigella was unharmed. "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 emphasise my point," he 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."

"We had made up by the time we were home," he added. "The parazzi were congregated outside our house after the story broke yesterday, so I told Nigella to take the kids off till the dust settled." Despite Charles' insistence that the images are nothing of concern, police are making inquiries into the incident. Charles and celebrity chef Nigella were spotted arguing at exclusive seafood restaurant Scott's in London, in which Charles was shown grabbing her throat and Nigella looked to be very tearful.

The row could reportedly be seen and heard by other customers at the establishment. "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.

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