Heather Mills calls for tighter restrictions on tabloid press
Heather Mills calls for tighter restrictions on tabloid press

Heather Mills, ex-wife of musician Sir Paul McCartney, has called for greater control over the tabloid media as "the public believe the lies".

Mills, who has regularly clashed with the tabloids over privacy, told the Leveson Inquiry into press ethics that editors were not concerned about libel settlements.

She said she had more than 65 hours of filmed abuse and harassment by the paparazzi. Some of it was shown to the inquiry.

"It's rare that [the tabloids] will pay out what they have made out of their sensationalistic stories and headlines," she said.

"So you might get a postage stamp apology, but we have had more than 5,000 negative headlines about us in the last 12 years.

"You may get £100,000 or £200,000, but that's peanuts compared to what they will have made thanks to those headlines."

Mills described how she was treated well by the press for her charity work, which was often described as "inspirational and about overcoming adversity".

"But after I met my now ex-husband I became the one-legged bitch and everything awful you could think of," she said.

"Until there's a disincentive for them to write so many lies and untruths and abusive comments, it's going to continue. The public believe the lies.

"If I was an editor and knew I was going to be embarrassed every week with front-page apologies, I would make sure every story was correct."

She also refuted Piers Morgan's claim that she had shared a voicemail message with him of McCartney singing to her after an argument.

"I can't believe that he would even try and insinuate, a man that's written nothing but awful things about me, would absolutely relish in telling the court if I had personally played a voicemail message to him," she said.

She said she had been contacted by a former Trinity Mirror staff member who described hearing the message, which she claimed was never copied and had been deleted.

A story on the message, which was left by McCartney in 2001 following an argument, was never published.

Before leaving the inquiry, Mills called for the Press Complaints Committee (PCC) to be completely overhauled and made into a public body.

"On investigating the PCC I found that the big decision-makers were editors themselves, who set their own code. That seemed ludicrous to me and I couldn't believe that could exist. Why would they rule against themselves?" she asked.