Heather Mills to face former nanny at employment tribunal
Heather Mills faces having her private life laid bare before an employment tribunal today after failing to reach an out-of-court settlement with her former nanny.
Sara Trumble lodged a constructive dismissal and sex discrimination claim against the former model shortly after resigning from her job in September 2008.
The 25-year-old claims she was given duties above and beyond her job as childminder to Beatrice, six, the daughter of Mills and her ex-husband Sir Paul McCartney.
She alleges that she was asked to give Mills naked spray tans, was expected to start work at 7.30am to blow-dry her hair and forced to stay as late as midnight.
But Mills, 42, has refused to reach an out-of-court settlement with Miss Trumble, telling friends she is determined “clear her name” and stop people from viewing her as an “easy target”.
It leaves open the possibility that Miss Trumble, who was close to Mills during the final days of her marriage to Sir Paul, will make potentially damaging and embarrassing allegations against her.
Mills will represent herself during the hearing, just as she did during her high-profile divorce from the former Beatle, which saw her awarded £24m (€26.7m).
She is expected to argue that Miss Trumble, from Westfield, East Sussex, was not just a nanny but a housekeeper, and that she allowed her to work flexitime after she became a mother.
She will also say that she gave Miss Trumble a new car, clothing for her baby, and took her on holiday to the Caribbean as a gesture of thanks for her support during her divorce.
A source close to Mills said: "Heather is facing the tribunal with determination to clear her name and prove she was in fact a very fair and generous employer.
"She feels very hurt and upset that somebody so close, who was considered part of the family, would choose to level these accusations at her.
"Heather doesn’t believe Sara has a case but she sadly accepts that when you become a high-profile personality then some people could see you as an easy target.
"She was not willing to make any back room deal because she is determined not shy away from what she perceives to be unsubstantiated allegations."
Days after the claim was lodged, footage of Miss Trumble praising Mills was posted on YouTube. Mills has strongly denied any suggestion that she posted the video onto the video-sharing website.
The two-minute clip, called 'Sara Trumble: My Story', was shot at Mills’s £2m (€2.2m) rural mansion in Robertsbridge, East Sussex, before the pair fell out and shows the nanny defending her employer against media criticism.
In the video, Miss Trumble says: "It drives me mad the stories that come out, they're all lies. It makes you want to shout and scream at the press, and just tell them it's rubbish.
"Now I've got a baby, Heather's given me a chance to work when no one else would take me."
The employment tribunal, being heard in Ashford, Kent, is scheduled to last four days.