Fans of the celebrity chef Nigella Lawson were left in shock on Sunday (June 16, 2013) after photographs in weekend tabloid The People appeared to show husband Charles Saatchi grasping her throat at a top London restaurant. The couple are believed to have been arguing at their favourite garden table at Scott's in Mayfair, before art collector Charles gripped his wife's neck four times.

Despite the incident, Nigella attempted to placate her husband by kissing him before getting up and hailing a taxi in tears. The Met Police said officers from the Community Safety Unit at Westminster had begun an investigation into the incident, "Inquiries are in hand to establish the facts," said a spokesman. 

Power couple Nigella and Saatchi always ask for the same table at Scott's in Chelsea, so that the art guru can smoke while eating. It is partly sheltered by olive trees and box bushes, though the photographs clearly show Charles gripping his wife's neck while the chef looks distraught. Nobody intervened during the incident, though one onlooker said, "It was utterly shocking to watch. 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. She had a real look of fear on her face. No man should do that to a woman. She raised her voice and got angry but at the same time was trying to calm him down, almost like you would try to calm down a child."

The couple left their £12 million home in Chelsea in separate taxis on Sunday morning. Both remained stone-faced and are yet to comment on the photos. The couple married nine year ago, following the death of Lawson's first husband, the journalist John Diamond.

Nigella LawsonNigella Lawson [L] and Charles Saatchi [R] Leaving In A Taxi

Nigella Lawson Scotts
Nigella Lawson At Her Favourite Table At Scott's Restaurant

Nigella Lawson Attacked
Charles Saatchi [L] and Wife Nigella Lawson [R]