Heather breaks down as she attacks critics

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The Independent Online

Heather Mills McCartney accused a "certain corner" today of feeding spin to the media to smear her.

Sir Paul McCartney's estranged wife, who is locked in divorce negotiations with her husband, also launched a fierce attack on the media for " pushing her to the edge" and called on the public to stop buying tabloid newspapers.

In an interview with GMTV, she compared the media's treatment of her to that of Kate McCann and Princess Diana, and said she had received death threats and been "close to suicide".

At one point she appeared to break down, later apologising for becoming upset and saying: "What are we doing as a nation buying these newspapers?

"We need to force a change as a responsible nation."

She said she has launched a petition at the European Parliament to strengthen the law against "a specific portion" of the media.

"I need to get everybody to petition that they don't want to be lied to any more by the press. They want their children to grow up in a society where press is just and fair and the size of the lie they print is the size of the apology they have to print."

She became tearful as she said: "They make up such lies. They've called me a whore, a golddigger, a fantasist, a liar, the most unbelievably hurtful things, and I've stayed quiet for my daughter.

"But my daughter... we've had death threats, I've been close to suicide. I'm so upset about this... I've had worse press than a paedophile or a murderer and I've done nothing but charity for 20 years."

She continued: "My sister was crying her eyes out because that awful Jordan and Peter Andre did a joke on Sunday and I've six amputee girls crying their eyes out because they're getting bullied at school because people are joking about the loss of my limb.

"Jonathan Ross said 'She's such an effing liar, we're going to find out she's got two legs instead of one'."

She refuted suggestions that she has "used the press", answering: "I haven't used the press for anything but my charity."

She produced a scrapbook with clippings she claimed showed pictures taken by aggressive paparazzi photographers, alongside apologies printed by newspapers relating to their coverage of her.

She said: "I am the one that is abused daily. I have protected Paul for this long and I am trying to protect him but I am being pushed to the edge and I don't want my daughter when she is 12 going on the internet and reading this totally one-sided story.

"My plan is to change the law in the European Parliament and I will do it."

She said she has been "offered nothing" in her divorce case, but she was unable to discuss it for legal reasons.

She said: "How do you know if I even want any money? I'm £1.5 million in debt in lawyers' fees, and that's as much as I can say or I go to jail, for telling the truth.

"So I'm gagged at the moment because I'm not allowed to say a word while the media are fed this spin by a certain corner."

Reports that she wanted a clause in her divorce settlement to allow her to sell her story were "rubbish", she said.

"I can sell my story right now. I'm trying to protect Paul and our daughter. I am trying, and I'm being pushed to the edge.

"Eighteen months of abuse, 4,400 abusive articles.

"Look what they're doing to the McCanns. The woman has lost, and the poor father, have lost their daughter. What are we doing as a nation?

"What are we doing persecuting a woman that is devastated behind closed doors and trying to hold it together, as I have for 18 months.

"What did the paparazzi do to Diana? They chased her and they killed her.

"Never mind all these other stories, that is what we are doing as a nation, buying these newspapers. Every time you buy one of those, you contribute to it. So force a change for responsible journalism."

Mills McCartney said the only respite she has enjoyed from continual media intrusion was when she was in the US.

"I would live in America in two seconds, but I live here to keep my daughter close to her father," she said.

"You have no idea how much I have done to compromise."

She produced a large cuttings folder full of newspaper stories about her - which she numbered at 4,000.

The show played video footage filmed by the ex-Beatle's estranged wife over recent months showing photographers pursuing her.

"I have a box of evidence that's going to a certain person should anything happen to me, so if you top me off it's still going to that person, and the truth will come out," she said.

"There is so much fear from a certain party of the truth coming out that lots of things have been put out and done, so the police came round and said 'you have had serious death threats from an underground movement'.

"That means my daughter's life is at risk, because she's with me all the time."

Despite this, Mills McCartney claimed, she has never phoned 999, instead using the non-emergency number to contact police.

She placed responsibility for the death threats clearly with the media.

"A certain part of the tabloid media created such a hate campaign against me it put my life and my daughter's life at risk," she said, choking back sobs.

"That's why I considered killing myself."

The most sensational claims made during Mills McCartney's acrimonious break-up with Sir Paul came in an extraordinary document widely believed to have been leaked to the media by the Mills McCartney camp.

The document - which she denies leaking - made a series of remarkable claims about the ex-Beatle's behaviour during their five-year marriage.

There were also claims that Sir Paul changed the locks at the marital home, froze her bank account and removed £10 million-worth of paintings from her house.

Mills McCartney paid tribute to the devotion of her friends through her struggles.

"I've got 300 friends who came to my daughter's party, and they are biting their tongues not to talk, because they're so loyal," she said.

"Even a journalist said to my publicist 'her friends are so loyal, we can't even get them to say a word'.

"Whereas other people's so-called friends are putting stuff out right, left and centre."

She ended by saying she wanted the culture of fame to become a force for good for future generations.

She said: "We don't want them (our children) to live in a celebrity culture unless that celebrity is going to be used in life to make a difference in the finite amount of seconds we have left on the planet."

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