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The moment henchman employed by Jerry Hall, 66, gave Rupert Murdoch, 91, divorce papers

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His granddaughter’s wedding was a probability for Rupert Murdoch to place his split from Jerry Hall to the back of his mind. 

However the celebrations turned sour for the 91-year-old media tycoon after Miss Hall’s divorce lawyers seized the chance to serve him with legal papers.

The Mail on Sunday can reveal a ‘shocked’ Mr Murdoch was handed the documents within the automotive park of RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire moments before he boarded his private plane.

Lying in wait was private investigator Michael Colacicco, a former Metropolitan Police anti-terrorism officer. In accordance with one witness, Mr Murdoch was surrounded by his security but ‘didn’t react in time’ before Mr Colacicco thrust the paperwork into the mogul’s hands.

‘He looked shocked, to place it mildly,’ the source said.

The Mail on Sunday can reveal a ‘shocked’ Mr Murdoch was handed the documents within the automotive park of RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire moments before he boarded his private plane

The extraordinary scenario could have come straight from an episode of the hit television drama Succession, which follows the machinations of an elderly billionaire media mogul and his warring family who are fighting to wrestle control of the dynasty

The extraordinary scenario could have come straight from an episode of the hit television drama Succession, which follows the machinations of an elderly billionaire media mogul and his warring family who’re fighting to wrestle control of the dynasty

The extraordinary scenario could have come straight from an episode of the hit television drama Succession, which follows the machinations of an elderly billionaire media mogul and his warring family who’re fighting to wrestle control of the dynasty.

That Miss Hall resorted to such aggressive tactics to get the divorce proceedings moving is maybe a sign of how upset she is by her treatment. Reports have claimed that billionaire Mr Murdoch ended their six-year marriage in an email to Miss Hall, 66.

Sources said she was left ‘devastated’ by the marital breakdown, and that she believes Mr Murdoch soured on her throughout the pandemic when she kept him isolated to stop him getting Covid. It’s claimed this caused tensions along with his children, who allegedly ‘mistrusted’ her and accused her of refusing to allow them to see him.

On July 1 the previous model filed for divorce in Los Angeles, citing ‘irreconcilable differences’. They’re said to have signed a prenuptial agreement, but Miss Hall’s lawyers claim that she was ‘unaware of the total nature and extent of all [Murdoch’s] assets and debts, and can amend this petition when the data has been ascertained’.

The day after Miss Hall filed for divorce, Mr Murdoch was photographed mingling with family outside St Mary’s Church in Westwell, Oxfordshire, at granddaughter Charlotte and Luke Storey’s wedding. 

Mr Murdoch was served with divorce papers the next Monday morning.

Rupert Murdoch and daughter Elisabeth at the wedding between his granddaughter Charlotte Freud and her new husband Luke Storey in July

Rupert Murdoch and daughter Elisabeth at the marriage between his granddaughter Charlotte Freud and her latest husband Luke Storey in July 

Lying in wait was private investigator Michael Colacicco, a former Metropolitan Police anti-terrorism officer. According to one witness, Mr Murdoch was surrounded by his security but ¿didn¿t react in time¿ before Mr Colacicco thrust the paperwork into the mogul¿s hands

Lying in wait was private investigator Michael Colacicco, a former Metropolitan Police anti-terrorism officer. In accordance with one witness, Mr Murdoch was surrounded by his security but ‘didn’t react in time’ before Mr Colacicco thrust the paperwork into the mogul’s hands

Rupert Murdoch arrives in a black car for the wedding of his granddaughter Charlotte to Luke Storey - just hours after being handed divorce papers from Jerry Hall

Rupert Murdoch arrives in a black automotive for the marriage of his granddaughter Charlotte to Luke Storey – just hours after being handed divorce papers from Jerry Hall 

Newlyweds Charlotte Freud and Lukey Storey as they tied the knot at St Mary's Church in Burford, in early July, smiling as they leave the ceremony

Newlyweds Charlotte Freud and Lukey Storey as they tied the knot at St Mary’s Church in Burford, in early July, smiling as they leave the ceremony

Nick Goldstone, head of dispute resolution at international law firm Ince, said that the actual fact Mr Murdoch was served in person showed that ‘the recipient was not expecting to be served or that the serving party expected a level of evasion’. 

He added: ‘Until such time as service has been effected, the proceedings cannot progress. It could be a difficult exercise, particularly where the goal is a global traveller and you need to serve them inside the jurisdiction. Catching them after they are in situ will be crucial.’

He said the move suggested Miss Hall desires to ‘progress with the divorce as soon as possible’.

Mark Stephens CBE, with London-based law firm Howard Kennedy, said it seemed to be a ‘well executed’ service of the paperwork, and serving Mr Murdoch personally was a technique to ‘speed things up’.

He added: ‘I believe he [Murdoch] may have been given the chance for his lawyers to simply accept service they usually didn’t. It could have been done to say, you are not going to get away with this for nothing.’

The celebrations turned sour for the 91-year-old media tycoon after Miss Hall's divorce lawyers seized the opportunity to serve him with legal papers

The celebrations turned sour for the 91-year-old media tycoon after Miss Hall’s divorce lawyers seized the chance to serve him with legal papers

Mr Stephens said the actual fact Miss Hall filed for divorce in California – they were married in London – is critical because it is a community property state, meaning that any property acquired throughout the marriage is by default split 50/50.

Among the many documents that might be made public are financial disclosures that Mr Murdoch made to Miss Hall for his or her prenup.

Mr Stephens added: ‘This can be a case that does not should be litigated. He’s wealthy enough to pay what’s asked. The smart thing is don’t line the pages of newspapers – just get on and settle the case.’

Mr Murdoch declined to comment, while Miss Hall and her legal team didn’t reply to questions.

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