Clayton takes stand in fraud trial
U2 star Adam Clayton today gave evidence against his former personal assistant accused of stealling €2.8 million from his bank accounts.
Taking to the stand at the Circuit Criminal Court in Dublin, the bassist joked he was not used to being in front of a microphone.
“I’m more of a ‘dum, dum, dum’, but I will practise my technique,” said the musician, who has been a member of U2 for 30 years.
His former PA, Carol Hawkins, is on trial for stealing cheques from the bassist over a four-year-period.
The 48-year-old, from Lower Rathmines Road in Dublin, worked for Mr Clayton for 16 years from 1992.
The mother-of-two listened as Mr Clayton, dressed in a navy jacket and grey shirt, was grilled on their working relationship and details of his bank account.
The defendant was a signatory on two of his accounts.
It was from these accounts that Ms Hawkins stands accused of drawing 181 cheques and lodging them into her own bank and financing a lavish lifestyle.
Prosecution barrister, Colm O’Briain SC, previously told the court Ms Hawkins lodged the money into her own personal account, a joint account with her then husband John Hawkins and a credit card account, between
Mr Clayton said Ms Hawkins had carried out her duties “efficiently and well” when she worked for him.
He told the court he only ever hired people who were capable of doing their job to look after his affairs. “I trusted people, and that’s why we’re here today,” he said.
Mr Clayton originally employed Ms Hawkins as a housekeeper and her then husband as a driver and occasional chef. They were paid a joint salary of about €48,000- a set-up Mr Clayton described as “tax advantageous” for the couple.
Ms Hawkins’s duties evolved from looking after the house and preparing meals, to eventually looking after Mr Clayton’s books. When she and her husband separated - around 2007 - Mr Clayton continued to pay her the full salary of the two.
Mr Clayton told the jury of seven men and five women that the defendant had confessed in 2008 to booking herself between €13,000 and €15,000 worth of flights on his account to visit her children in the United States and London.
“She also mentioned that she had been suicidal and had taken an overdose,” he went on. “I was concerned for her health and recommended she see a therapist. I got her a therapist locally.
“In the matter of the money, I accepted she was a distressed woman. Her marriage broke up, her children had gone away. I said we would have to verify the amounts she had been claiming.”
He said he removed her as a signatory on his accounts, but kept her as an employee.
“She had my absolute trust. We had been together a long time - working together. She had been very conscientious,” he added. “I felt she looked after my money and on many occasions accused others of being greedy so I was extremely surprised.”