The woman the British tabloids love to hate testified to the Leveson Inquiry today, and unlike many of their stories about her, hers was grounded in fact.
Some people can do no wrong in the eyes of the media: George Best was one; others include a whole string of wannabe talentless and sham celebrities. Heather Mills does not fit into any of those categories. In August 1993 she was involved in an horrific road accident, and among things her left leg had to be amputated below the knee.
She received five figure compensation for her suffering, and sold her story for nearly as much, though it remains to be seen how much money can compensate any young woman for the loss of a leg and the physical pain she still suffers to this day. So what did she do with her windfall? She set up a trust for amputees realising that most such people are not as lucky as she was. She has done much more too, but she can also handle her own PR.
Like all of us, Heather Mills is not perfect and has undoubtedly made mistakes in her personal life, so has her ex-husband Paul McCartney, as his Japanese fans know.
Showbusiness marriages are notoriously volatile for a number of reasons, so it was by no means certain that this particular marriage would last, it was though a racing certainty that if it ended in divorce, there would be only one bad guy in the eyes of the tabloid press.
The full extent of the bile heaped on this woman needs no retelling here, although the nadir was probably supplied not by the tabloids but by someone who might be alluded to as a tabloid comedian. In October 2006, Jonathan Ross made a sick joke about her losing her leg that drew roars of appreciation from a music award audience.
Today though at the Leveson Inquiry, the boot was firmly on the other foot, and Miss Mills used her good leg to kick the tabloids right where it hurts, albeit in an extremely reserved and dignified fashion; truth needs no hyperbolae.
Contradicting former tabloid hack Piers Morgan who testified by video link from the US last December, she denied she had ever played a voicemail message to him or anyone else in 2001 or ever, and stated categorically that her phone had been hacked. One particular message from Paul McCartney was intensely personal, and there is no reasonable explanation other than that her voicemail was indeed hacked.
She also showed the Inquiry edited footage of what she said was harassment by paparazzi photographers.
Yesterday at the High Court - in the same building - a number of victims of phone hacking received settlements, including Sheila Henry, the mother of Christian Small, one of the 52 innocent people murdered by the 7/7 bombers seven years ago.
The Leveson Inquiry continues, and indeed is scheduled to run for many more months; we are still in Module 1, and there are 3 more to go.
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