Paul McCartney's alleged efforts to silence estranged wife Heather Mills McCartney are at the centre of their long divorce saga, according to media reports.

The ex-Beatle and Mills McCartney, dubbed 'Mucca' in the tabloid press, failed to reach agreement after divorce talks at the high court on Thursday.

Tabloid newspapers claim 65-year-old McCartney offered her £50 million to agree not to discuss their marriage, a deal rejected by Dancing With The Stars contestant Mills McCartney.

Instead she is reportedly saying she will take just £15 million – a mere snip of his £825 million fortune – in order to discuss the ins and outs of their ill-fated marriage.

A fully-fledged divorce hearing is scheduled for February but it is not clear whether the beans will be well and truly spilled in such an instance.

"Quite often what happens is at an FDR [financial dispute resolution, which took place on Thursday] is one or other of the couple or sometimes both of them don't like what the judge has said, or they need some time to take it in and regroup or rethink," Jane Craig of law firm Manches explained to the Guardian newspaper.

"So they go away and quite often the case settles three weeks after. The fact that they weren't successful at the FDR does not mean they will end up spending several days in the high court."

13/10/2007 18:55:30