Celebrity chef Nigella Lawson was allegedly choked several times by her husband, Charles Saatchi, while out in public. Scotland Yard has opened an investigation into the incident, though Lawson has not filed a formal complaint against her husband of 10 years.
"It was utterly shocking to watch," one eyewitness told the Daily Mirror. "I have no doubt she was scared. It was horrific, really. She was very tearful and constantly dabbing her eyes."
Lawson and Saatchi were out for a meal when the incident occurred. He allegedly put his hands around her neck four times and squeezed, causing her to tear up. Sources say that Lawson appeared frightened and was in tears by the end of the meal.
She apparently tried to remedy the situation and kissed Saatchi after the incident was over, which seemed strange to eyewitnesses.
"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 witness continued.
"The kiss was a strange thing. He was being intimidating, threatening, and yet she kissed him," the witness added. "She appeared to be a woman who loves him but was clearly unable to stop him from being abusive, frightening, and disrespectful to her."
After the incident, Saatchi left the restaurant while Lawson remained behind at the table. When she finally left, she was in tears. Hours later, the Daily Mail reported that Lawson and her teenage son left the family home. It's unclear whether this means the relationship with Saatchi is over, but Scotland Yard is investigating the incident.
"Enquires are in hand to establish the facts of the incident," a spokesman told Britain's Sunday People. Lawson, however, has not lodged any complaint against her husband.
"It was clear he knew he'd done something wrong," an eyewitness told Sunday People. "He was menacing; there's no question. She had been abused and humiliated in public."
Lawson is a popular, internationally known chef, who recently starred on the American series "The Taste."