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The case was heard in court 34 at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. At the start of the proceedings Mills asked for £125 million, but McCartney offered £15.8 million. Before the court case, Mills had employed the accountancy firm Lee and Allen to examine McCartney’s publishing company, business assets, and properties, claiming that she had a tape recording of McCartney admitting his true worth, but the presiding judge, Mr Justice Bennett, based his decision on a forensic valuation of McCartney’s finances completed by accounting firm Ernst & Young.
The hearing took six days, finishing on 18 February 2008, with the judgment being made public on 17 March that year. Mills was eventually awarded a lump sum of £16.5m (equivalent to £22,180,257 in 2019), together with assets of £7.8m, which included the properties she owned at the time. The total was £24.3 million plus payments of £35,000 per annum, for a nanny and school costs for their daughter. In his judgment, Mr Justice Bennett stated: ‘The husband’s evidence was, in my judgment, balanced. He expressed himself moderately though at times with justifiable irritation, if not anger. He was consistent, accurate and honest. 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.‘ Regarding her career, the judge said: ‘I find that, far from the husband dictating to and restricting the wife’s career and charitable activities, he did the exact opposite. 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.‘ In anger at the judgment, Mills poured a jug of water on the head of Fiona Shackleton, McCartney’s solicitor, in the courtroom.
The divorce was granted on 12 May, and the preliminary divorce decree was finalised six weeks later.
During their marriage, Mills was known as Heather Mills McCartney, but after her divorce, she reverted to Heather Mills, although she should still be correctly referred to as Lady McCartney; as the former wife of a knight, she technically retains that title. She was addressed as such by Lord Justice Leveson, during the Leveson Inquiry.
Last updated on January 21, 2021