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Judge rips McCartney's ex-wife in ruling

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  • Judge: Heather Mills "a less than impressive witness"
  • Paul McCartney's ex-wife received nearly $50M payout in divorce ruling
  • Ruling follows collapse of ex-Beatle's four-year marriage to former model
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Heather Mills presented "less than candid" testimony about her life with former Beatle Paul McCartney during her divorce case and made more money during their marriage than before, according to a ruling released Tuesday.

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McCartney's lawyer Fiona Shackleton, left, pictured after it is alleged Mills threw water over her.

Mills represented herself during the proceedings and was a "less than impressive witness" on her own behalf, Judge Hugh Bennett wrote in awarding her £24.3 million ($48.6 million) -- far less than the £125 million she had sought from McCartney in the dissolution of their four-year marriage.

"Having given in her favor 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," Bennett wrote.

Mills emerged from the court Monday angry about the judge's treatment of her. She said the judge and attorneys acted like they were part of a "club." Blog: Did Mills pour water on McCartney's lawyer?

A summary of Bennett's decision was released Monday, but Mills had sought to keep the full ruling under wraps. Britain's Court of Appeals ruled against her Tuesday, and her lawyer, David Rosen, said she accepted the decision. See a list of expensive celebrity divorces »

"She as a mother has strived to protect her child and felt there were certain issues and matters in the judgment which affected that," Rosen said.

Mills opposed the full ruling's publication because it contained private details about her and her 4-year-old daughter with McCartney, Beatrice. Video Watch Mills react to Monday's decision »

Bennett had good things to say about Mills in his judgment, commending her strength in the face of disability. Mills lost her left leg below the knee in a 1993 traffic accident.

But he discounted many of the arguments the former model made about her personal wealth before and after her 2002 marriage to McCartney. He ruled that Mills earned far less before marriage than she claimed, and far more while married -- and at several points in his decision, he wrote that Mills' ideas about their marriage were "make-belief."

"I find that, far from the husband dictating to and restricting the wife's career and charitable activities, he did the exact opposite," Bennett wrote. McCartney, meanwhile, presented balanced evidence and was a consistent witness, he wrote.

"He expressed himself moderately though at times with justifiable irritation, if not anger," the judge wrote in a glimpse of the emotions aired behind closed doors. Read the full ruling (.pdf file -- Adobe Acrobat required)

Bennett found Mills failed to produce financial records to back up statements about money she claimed to have in the bank before marriage, which she said amounted to more than £2 million. In one instance, the judge pointed out McCartney's company loaned Mills money to buy a home in Hove, England -- money that she would not have needed had she had such an amount in the bank.

And Bennett found that Mills' income actually improved during the marriage. In one year, she earned £1 million ($2 million) from a single modeling contract, he wrote. And he quoted Mills' 2002 book, "A Single Step," in which she wrote that her charity work and public speaking roles had expanded "to such an extent that it has left little time for anything else."

"She is a kindly person and is devoted to her charitable causes," the judge wrote. "She has conducted her own case before me with a steely, yet courteous, determination."

The couple met in 1999, a year after the death of McCartney's wife of 30 years, Linda. The judge said McCartney continued to grieve for his late wife well into his marriage with Mills -- and he suggested Mills misrepresented her case because she had been star-struck.

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

Bennett discounted Mills' claims that she was anything more than a loving and devoted wife in helping McCartney.

"The wife's evidence that in some way she was the husband's 'psychologist,' even allowing for hyperbole, is typical of her make-belief," the judge wrote.

Mills and McCartney failed to agree on a divorce settlement in six days of hearings in February, leaving the judge to decide the terms.

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Bennett's 58-page decision concluded that £24.3 million was enough for Mills to live comfortably and take care of their daughter's needs. McCartney had proposed a £15.8 million settlement.

The judgment included £35,000 a year for Beatrice, £600,000 for Mills and £2.5 million for her to purchase property in London. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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