Mills was 'less than candid', says judge

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Heather Mills was "a less than impressive witness" whose evidence was "not just inconsistent and inaccurate but also less than candid", a High Court judge says in a ruling the former model did not want the world to see.







The full judgment of the divorce battle between Miss Mills and estranged husband Paul McCartney was released today after her attempt to appeal Mr Justice Bennett's decision to release it failed at the Court of Appeal.













The judge described Sir Paul McCartney's evidence as "balanced".

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



Mr Justice Bennett said Heather Mills was a "strong-willed and determined personality" who had shown great fortitude in overcoming her disability.



He said: "She has conducted her own case before me with a steely, yet courteous, determination."



The judge described her as a "kindly person" who is "devoted to her charitable causes".









However, Mr Justice Bennett said: "But I regret to have to say I cannot say the same about the wife's evidence.

"Having watched and listened to her give evidence, having studied the documents, and having given in her favour every allowance for the enormous strain she must have been under (and in conducting her own case), I am driven to the conclusion that much of her evidence, both written and oral, was not just inconsistent and inaccurate but also less than candid. Overall she was a less than impressive witness."











The judge said he could not accept Miss Mills's case that she was wealthy and independent by the time she met the former Beatle in the middle of 1999.

"I find that the wife's case as to her wealth in 1999 to be wholly exaggerated. The assertion that she was a wealthy person in 1999 is, of course, the first step in her overall case that her career, which in 1999 she says was one producing rich financial rewards, was thereafter blighted by the husband during their relationship."









The judge backed Sir Paul's assertion that their "true and settled relationship" began upon marriage in June 2002 and not, as Miss Mills asserted, in March 2000.

In assessing their relationship before their marriage, the judge said the background was of importance.



"The husband's wife, Linda, had died in 1998.



"Their marriage endured for some 30 years.



"Repeatedly in his evidence the husband described how, even during his relationship with the wife in 1999 to 2002, he was grieving for Linda.



"I have no doubt the husband found the wife very attractive. But equally I have no doubt that he was still very emotionally tied to Linda."



The judge said it was "not without significance" that until Sir Paul married Miss Mills, he wore the wedding ring given to him by Linda.



"Upon being married to the wife, he removed it and it was replaced by a ring given to him by the wife.



"The wife, for her part, must have felt rather swept off her feet by a man as famous as the husband. I think this may well have warped her perception, leading her to indulge in make-believe. The objective facts do not support her case."













On the issue of claims for compensation for her lost career, Miss Mills gave evidence that Sir Paul had advised her "against 99 per cent" of what she described as "countless, lucrative business opportunities" made to her once they had married.

In a written statement before the judge, she said: "He stated that they were only interested in me because of his name and that I should just stick to charity work and he would take care of me."



But the judge ruled: "I find that, far from the husband dictating to and restricting the wife's career and charitable activities, he did the exact opposite, as he says.



"He encouraged it and lent his support, name and reputation to her business and charitable activities. The facts as I find them do not in any way support her claim. Compensation therefore does not arise."











The judge said Miss Mills was a good mother, which Sir Paul readily conceded, but her case was that her contribution throughout the marriage was "exceptional".

"It is a central part of her case that she helped the husband to communicate better with his children.



"She 'counselled' him through his grieving over Linda. She gave him confidence after Linda's death to restart touring. She says she helped him write his songs.



"She suggested that he should have an acrylic fingernail because he had worn down his fingernail of his left hand to the point that it bled.



"She helped, it is said, with the set design and lighting on his tours. She went on every tour; indeed, she says, he insisted on her coming."



Miss Mills, he added, summed up her contribution in this way: "I was his full-time wife, mother, lover, confidante, business partner and psychologist."











The judge said that Sir Paul agreed that Miss Mills helped him through his grieving, as he was in a "sad state" for a year after Linda's death, but he argued that her case that she in some way single-handedly saved him was "exaggerated".

The judge said: "In my judgment the picture painted by the husband of the wife's part in his emotional and professional life is much closer to reality than the wife's account.



"The wife, as the husband said, enjoys being the centre of attention. Her presence on his tours came about because she loved the husband, enjoyed being there and because she thoroughly enjoyed the media and public attention. I am prepared to accept that her presence was emotionally supportive to him 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 have to say that the wife's evidence that in some way she was the husband's 'psychologist', even allowing for hyperbole, is typical of her make-belief.



"I reject her evidence that she, vis-a-vis the husband, was anything more than a kind and loving person who was deeply in love with him, helped him through his grieving and like any new wife tried to integrate into their relationship the children of his former marriage. I wholly reject her account that she rekindled the husband's professional flame and gave him back his confidence."



He concluded: "In her final submissions the wife described her contribution as 'exceptional'. I reject her case. I am afraid I have to say her case on this issue is devoid of reality. The husband's evidence is far more persuasive."

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