From: Reuters
Published March 18, 2008 11:30 AM

McCartney divorce judge berates Heather Mills

By Paul Majendie

LONDON (Reuters) - The judge in Paul McCartney's divorce settlement berated the former Beatle's estranged wife Heather Mills for giving "inconsistent and inaccurate" evidence, according to details of the ruling released on Tuesday.

Judge Hugh Bennett, who on Monday ordered McCartney to pay Mills 24.3 million pounds ($48.7 million), said she had conducted her own defence "with courteous, yet steely determination" after earlier sacking her own lawyers.

But in a judgment Mills never wanted to be aired in public, he concluded: "Overall she was a less than impressive witness."

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In contrast, the judge praised McCartney for giving balanced evidence during the six-day hearing.

"He expressed himself moderately, though at times with justifiable irritation, if not anger," Bennett said. "He was consistent, accurate and honest," the judge concluded.

McCartney, 65, married the former model and charity campaigner Mills, 40, in 2002, four years after his first wife Linda died of breast cancer.

Mills and McCartney separated four years later, blaming media intrusion into their private lives.

They have a daughter, Beatrice, aged four.

The settlement was only a fifth of the sum she had sought, but still gave her the equivalent of about $34,000 for each day of her four-year marriage to the pop icon.

Mills told reporters on Monday she was appealing against publication in full "because the judgment involves private secure matters of my daughter."

But on Tuesday she lost her legal bid to stop full publication of the judge's decision. The 58-page judgment was then released online at www.judiciary.gov.uk.

In the judge's ruling, McCartney was quoted as saying of his marriage: "I believed it was for life and that it put everything on a very different footing. We stopped using contraception the night we were married.

"Neither of us contemplated children without marriage," McCartney said.

Mills had one miscarriage before Beatrice was conceived, the judgment revealed.

Mills, a charity campaigner and former model, complained in her evidence that McCartney tried to constrict her career.

"He dictated what she could or could not do," the judgment reported.

The judge said that Mills enjoyed going on McCartney's concert tours "because she thoroughly enjoyed the media and public attention."

"But to suggest that in some way she was his 'business partner' is, I am sorry to have to say, make-belief," he added.

"I wholly reject her account that she rekindled the husband's professional fame (after his first wife's death) and gave him back his confidence."

(Additional reporting by Andrew Hough)

(Editing by Paul Casciato)

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