19 FEBRUARY 2008

Despite reports a last minute deal was on the table, Heather Mills and her estranged husband Paul McCartney have failed to reach an agreement in court. As a result it is now up to the judge to determine the financial settlement between the pair - leaving the door open to an appeal. This would mean all documents relating to the dispute would be open to public scrutiny.

The former Beatle, who was not present on Tuesday as Heather made her final arguments in person to the judge, is understood to have offered an initial sum of around £20 million. Annual payments of £2.5 million until Beatrice, the couple's four-year-old daughter, turns 18 would bring the total value of the package up to £55 million.

This is thought to be a higher amount than the judge is likely to award when he makes his decision in two or three weeks' time.

However, Heather is believed to be seeking between £70 million and £80 million of the 65-year-old musician's estimated £825 fortune. If she contests the judge's decision in the Court of Appeal, where all hearings are public, details of the marriage will enter the public domain.

Although Paul has been keen to keep details of the couple's four-year union private, Heather has always made it clear she wants the freedom to speak out. She is reportedly planning to publish a book on their relationship.

Photo: ©
Heather, pictured leaving the High Court on Monday after the couple failed to reach an agreement, could contest the judge's ruling in the Court of Appeal. If she did so, details of her four-year union with the former Beatle would enter the public domainPhoto: © Getty Images
Photo: ©
Paul, who didn't attend the final day of the private court proceedings, is understood to have offered a package worth an estimated £55 million. The judge is expected to offer less, potentially prompting an appeal by the singer's ex wifePhoto: © AFP