October 18, 2006 03:50 PM

Lawyers for Paul McCartney said Wednesday he’ll defend himself “vigorously” against allegations reportedly made about him in legal papers by his estranged wife, Heather Mills McCartney, and leaked to the British press.

On Wednesday, U.K. newspaper The Daily Mail published charges of bad behavior against the former Beatle in what it claimed were excerpts from Mills’s legal filing, which was in response to McCartney’s July divorce petition.

Among other things, Mills allegedly claims McCartney stabbed her in the arm with a broken wine glass; pushed her several times, including once when she was pregnant; drank to excess; and refused to let her breast feed their daughter because, he supposedly said, “They are my breasts.”

McCartney’s law firm, Payne Hicks Beach, issued a statement on Wednesday reading, “Our client would very much like to respond in public and in detail to the allegations made recently against him by his wife and published in the press, but he recognizes, on advice, that the only correct forum for his response to the allegations made against him is in the current divorce proceedings. Our client will be defending these allegations vigorously and appropriately.”

The statement also says, “Since the breakdown of his marriage, Sir Paul McCartney has maintained his silence in not commenting on the media stories, believing that it was best for all concerned, particularly his children, for there to be some dignity in what is a private matter.”

McCartney is represented by Payne Hicks Beach solicitor Fiona Shackleton, who worked for Prince Charles during his 1996 divorce from Princess Diana, while Mills has retained Diana’s attorney, Anthony Julius.

Julius’s firm, Mishcon de Reya, said in a statement that it “will not comment on leaked or allegedly leaked documents. The law firm can, however, confirm that Lady Heather Mills McCartney stands by everything that has been filed at Court on her behalf and intends to prove its truth in due course, should this be necessary.”

Mills’s rep, Phil Hall, had no comment, saying the matter was a legal issue and he was referring it to her lawyers.

McCartney and Mills announced their split in May after nearly four years of marriage. They have one daughter, Beatrice, who turns 3 on Oct. 28.

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