BREAKING NEWS: A Daily Mail report: Nigella aides found NOT GUILTY of defrauding couple of £685,000 in four-year designer spending spree
Italian sisters found NOT GUILTY of carrying out £685,000 credit card fraud. Elisabetta and Francesca Grillo were trusted members of Team Cupcake. Elisabetta, 41, was taken ill as the jury considered their verdicts. Nigella admitted snorting cocaine and smoking cannabis during the trial. Jury returned their verdict after a three-week trial at Isleworth Crown Court
Two of Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi's former aides were today found not guilty of defrauding the celebrity couple of nearly £700,000.
It follows a three-week trial in which the court heard astonishing allegations that Miss Lawson snorted cocaine and smoked cannabis.
Italian sisters Elisabetta and Francesca Grillo used company credit cards to spend £685,000 on items for themselves including designer shoes and clothes.
They maintained throughout that the spending had been authorised.
The jury of 12 were earlier given a direction by the judge that they could reach a majority verdict - meaning up to two members of the panel could dissent against the overall decision.
Elisabetta, 41, was taken ill yesterday and an ambulance was called to the court while the jury were deliberating.
She was suffering from panic attacks and high blood pressure as the jury deliberated and was seen apparently collapsing in the court reception area this morning.
When the panel were sent out again this morning the sisters were not in the dock as Judge Robin Johnson explained that one of them was unwell because a criminal trial is stressful.
'One of them is not feeling well, is very anxious and you will appreciate that a criminal trial is a stressful business for many people, no more stressful than for the person on trial, in this case, herself.
'I have said that the defendants can be in another room while court proceedings proceed, with the consent of the barristers.'
Francesca and Elisabetta Grillo stood trial charged with spending £685,000 on themselves using Charles Saatchi's company credit cards.
The court heard they went on a shop til you drop trip to New York, stayed at the Ritz Hotel in Paris and spent thousands of pounds on designer clothes.
The jury reached their verdict today after a three-week trial at Isleworth Crown Court.
During the case, Nigella Lawson dramatically revealed that she had smoked cannabis in front of her children and snorted cocaine.
The TV cook, 53, told the court she had turned to cocaine in 2010 after being subjected to 'intimate terrorism' by Charles Saatchi.
She also admitted snorting the drug six times while married to her late husband John Diamond who died from throat cancer in 2001.
Mr Saatchi and Miss Lawson divorced earlier this year after pictures were published in June which appeared to show the millionaire art dealer 'throttling' his wife outside Scott's restaurant in Mayfair, central London.
Despite the 'heartbreak' of their divorce, Mr Saatchi told the jury he still 'adores' his former wife. However, Miss Lawson made clear that she was happy to move on with her life.
The Grillo sisters, from Bayswater, west London, maintained throughout their trial that all the money they spent on the millionaire's Concaro company credit cards was authorised.
Please forgive us, urgent and important, private and confidential
AN EMAIL FROM THE SISTERS TO CHARLES AND NIGELA
Dear Charles and Nigella,
We are at our utmost despair and reaching out to you for help and hope that somewhere in your hearts you will find a way to forgive us and realise that we never meant in any way to seem to be disloyal.
We truly believe that we had a bond like a family.
You were, as you often said to us, our English family and we saw you like a mother and father figure in our lives over these 10-14 years that we have known you.
There is not a worst feeling thinking we have in any way let down our family and we are deeply sorry and full of regret.
All we want to do is put this right and make amends. We have asked our lawyers to try and settle this ongoing nightmare and we plead with you to find a way in your hearts so that we can stop the fighting which is destroying us and make amends with you as soon as possible.
This is all we wanted to do from the beginning of this whole nightmare. From the bottom of our hearts we extend an olive branch in the hope that you will understand we never ever meant to hurt in any way.
Please forgive us and help us put this right.
From Francesca and Elisabetta