11 FEBRUARY 2008

Though reports at the weekend suggested a last minute divorce settlement was on the cards, Paul McCartney and his estranged wife Heather Mills were finally unable to come to an agreement. The pair arrived at court on Monday to begin a five-day private hearing during which a judge will rule on a figure after listening to legal arguments from both sides.

Heather - whose four-year marriage ended in May 2006 - is expected to ask for £80 million of the Beatles legend's fortune. Meanwhile, Paul is believed to be intending to try and convince the judge she should receive about £10 million. "They have been trying to reach a settlement for months but they are still poles apart," says a source.

A report in a British newspaper told how the former model and anti-landmines campaigner apparently spoke to Paul on the phone over the weekend in a last minute attempt to avoid their dispute going before a judge.

"She was in tears and very emotional," a friend tells The Daily Mirror. "He was very cool throughout the conversation. She is desperate to settle out of court and told him it didn't need to come to that. But he ended it by saying 'I'll see you in court'."

The hearing - during which Heather is expected to represent herself after parting company with her legal team last year - will also deal with custody of the couple's four-year-old daughter, Beatrice.

Photo: © Alphapress.com
The 65-year-old musician arrives at a London court on Monday after reportedly rejecting Heather's last-minute pleas to settle out-of courtPhoto: © PA
Photo: © Alphapress.com
Heather, who is expected to represent herself during the five-day private hearing, will reportedly claim £80 million of her estranged husband's fortunePhoto: © PA