Clayton case 'not a glamorous trial'

Fri, Jun 8, 2012, 01:00

THE JURY at the trial of Adam Clayton’s former personal assistant has been told it is “not a
glamorous trial” and not a case of getting a glimpse into the lives of the rich and famous.

Opening the trial on day two, Colm O’Briain, prosecuting, called it “a grubby tale of prolonged, repeated and pernicious fraud and gross mistrust”.

Carol Hawkins (47), Lower Rathmines Road, has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal
Court to 181 counts of theft from two of Mr Clayton’s Bank of Ireland accounts over a four-year
period from 2004 to 2008.

The alleged thefts totalled ¤2,862,567. Mr O’Briain said evidence will be given that Mr Clayton
employed Ms Hawkins in 1992, initially as his housekeeper. Her husband,  John, was employed at the same time as Mr Clayton’s driver and caretaker.

In 2004 Ms Hawkins’s responsibilities grew and she became Mr Clayton’s personal assistant and an authorised signatory. She was responsible for paying his household and personal expenses.Counsel said there will be evidence that Ms Hawkins was given a credit card and Laser card paid by direct debit from one of Mr Clayton’s accounts to allow for the payment of his legitimate expenses without prior approval.

Mr O’Briain told the jury that evidence will be given to show how Ms Hawkins, her husband and two children lived at Mr Clayton’s house at Danesmoate in  Rathfarnham until 2005, when refurbishment works began and they moved to rented  accommodation, which Mr Clayton paid for.

The court was told that in 2007 Ms Hawkins’s marriage broke up and Mr Clayton continued to pay
her a full salary of €48,000 a year, along with a monthly rental allowance of €2,600.The court heard
that in 2008 Ms Hawkins approached Mr Clayton and admitted she had booked and paid for flights wrongly out of his accounts in order to visit her children in the UK and US.

Mr Clayton removed her as signatory of his two bank accounts but kept her on as his personal
assistant. After this initial disclosure, an investigation took place, and in November 2009 Ms
Hawkins’s employment was terminated.

The court heard a fuller investigation was started by a forensic accountant hired by Mr Clayton
and then by gardaí. These allegedly showed several irregularities in the two accounts.

Mr O’Briain said just because Mr Clayton “has done well for himself” does not make it any less of
an offence to steal from him.

He said the court will hear evidence from Mr Clayton detailing the financial arrangement he made with Ms Hawkins.

He said there will be further evidence from Mr Clayton’s advisers and gardaí as well as a significant number of documents.

He said there will be evidence that Mr Clayton had no knowledge of a transaction of €310,000
withdrawn from one of his accounts and lodged into Ms Hawkins’s joint account, which she held with her husband.

It is alleged that three days later a bank draft for $425,000 was taken from her joint account and
made payable to an attorney in New York, which Mr Clayton will say he had no knowledge of.

The trial continues before Judge Patrick McCartan and a jury of seven men and five women.