'Domestic violence was just a playful tiff'

Pictures of art collector Charles Saatchi grasping the neck of his wife, TV chef Nigella Lawson, outside a restaurant caused outrage among campaigners against domestic violence, and they reacted even stronger when Mr Saatchi responded by saying it was just a "playful tiff".

The photos appeared in the newspaper the Sunday People, and the police are said to be examining the images to see if an investigation is warranted, but no formal complaint has been made. Mr Saatchi told the Evening Standard that the pictures are "horrific but give a far more drastic and violent impression of what took place." He said the couple were in the middle of an "intense debate" and that he was holding "Nigella's neck repeatedly while attempting to emphasise my point." He then went on to say that "there was no grip" and that "it was a playful tiff."

Chief executive of domestic violence charity Women's Aid, Polly Neate, said it is shocking to see a high-profile person linked to alleged domestic violence, but that the statistics mean it shouldn't be surprising, as one in four women suffer abuse from a partner during their lifetime. She hoped that the attention to domestic violence generated by the media interest would "resonate with many women currently living with abuse", and stressed that "help and support" is available.

If you or someone you know needs legal advice from a solicitor in Northern Ireland about domestic abuse, contact Wilson Nesbitt solicitors in Belfast by calling 0800 840 1363.

Or for more information about domestic violence click here.