Nigella Lawson's husband, Charles Saatchi, says pictures of him holding her throat were part of a 'playful tiff'

Nigella Lawson's husband has made an official statement following the release of pictures of him with his hand around his wife's neck.

Nigella Lawson's husband Charles Saatchi says the pictures of him holding her throat were part of a 'playful tiff'. …

Charles Saatchi says the photographs, which appeared in the Daily Mirror and initially appeared in the Sunday People, were taken during a "playful tiff" and that he was trying to "emphasise" a point.

He told the Evening Standard: "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.

"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."

Explaining why Nigella was then pictured leaving their family home with a suitcase and her 17-year-old son, Charles claims it was merely to avoid attention from the paparazzi.

Nigella Lawson has left the home she shares with Charles Saatchi, taking her children with her. Copyright [Spl …

He added: "The paparazzi were congregated outside our house after the story broke yesterday morning, so I told Nigella to take the kids off till the dust settled."

Nigella's spokesperson confirmed that she has left the family home, saying: "I can clarify that she has left the family home with her children."

Meanwhile, Scotland Yard's Community Safety Unit are currently "carrying out preliminary inquiries" into the photographs, but that they have not received a complaint from Nigella or anyone else.

They added: "Inquiries are in hand to establish the facts in order to assess whether an investigation is necessary."

Nigella and Charles married in 2003, she has two children - Cosima, 19, and Bruno, 17 - from her previous marriage to John Diamond, who died in 2001.