McCartney-Mills divorce sealed with $48-mn deal

March 18th, 2008 - 12:49 am ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Paul McCartney
London, March 17 (DPA) The four-year marriage between ex-Beatle Paul McCartney and former model Heather Mills ended Monday with a divorce deal of 24.3 million pounds ($48.7 million) for Mills and the couple’s four-year-old daughter, Beatrice Milly. After a three-hour session at the high court, Sir Paul, 65, kept his lips sealed as he swept past ranks of reporters in a black limousine, but Mills, 40, declared that she was “glad it’s all over.”

She was “delighted” at the outcome, said Mills, while admitting that the financial settlement was below what she had expected. Her ex-husband had offered her “a lot less” she told reporters on the steps of the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

“I’m very, very happy with the decision,” Mills insisted. “This is an incredible result in the end to secure mine and my child’s future.”

But publication of a judgement summary revealed that Mills had sought the staggering amount of 125 million pounds, and that Sir Paul offered her 15.8 million.

Reports had claimed that the divorce payout in the McCartney-Mills case would make legal history, but this has turned out not to be so.

“It’s okay, it’s at the lower end of the band for a four-year marriage,” said one legal expert outside the court.

According to the ruling, Judge Hugh Bennett found that Sir Paul’s total assets, including his business assets, amounted to about 400 million pounds.

There was “no evidence” that the former Beatles’ wealth was in excess of 800 million pounds, as had been widely reported.

Mills, who defended herself during the latter stages of the divorce proceedings, immediate attacked the judge’s evaluation of Sir Paul’s assets.

“Everyone knows he has been worth 800 million pounds for the last 15 years,” she said.

On the sum of 35,000 pounds per year she would receive for Beatrice’s nanny and schooling, Mills said: “She (Beatrice) is obviously meant to travel B class while her father travels A class.”

Lawyers for Sir Paul, which included Fiona Shackleton, who represented Prince Charles in his 1996 divorce from princess Diana, had argued that the ex-Beatle had amassed the bulk of his fortune long before he met Mills.

The ruling also prohibited Mills from disclosing, without consent, details of “marital confidences” in what was seen as an important concession won by the opposing side.

Sir Paul and Mills, who after the loss of a leg in a traffic accident became a fervent anti-landmine campaigner, announced their separation in May, 2006.

They tied the knot in Ireland in June, 2002, four year’s after the death from breast cancer of Sir Paul’s wife of 19 years, American animal rights campaigner Linda Eastman.

Sir Paul and Linda had three children and a daughter Eastman brought into the marriage.

Mills Monday made little attempt to hide her bitterness over the divorce.

She also launched an appeal against the full publication of the judgement, which will be heard Tuesday.

On the steps of the court, Mills launched a savage attack on Shackleton, who she said had called her “many many names before even meeting me when I was in a wheelchair.”

Shackleton had “handled this in the worst manner you could ever, ever imagine,” said Mills.

Mills departed from court with a scathing comment for the judge and lawyers.

“These people are in a club, it’s like they want to stay together and they don’s want a litigant in person to do well,” she said.

Her award, while not breaking the record 48 million pounds paid out to a British insurance magnate two years ago, is nonetheless considerable compared with other “celebrity” payouts by British courts, generally much more modest than those in the US.

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