Court hears of Clayton payments
A former personal assistant and housekeeper to Adam Clayton has gone on trial for allegedly stealing almost €3 million from the U2 bass player.
Carol Hawkins (47), Lower Rathmines Road, Dublin, 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 came to a total of €2,862,567.
The Circuit Criminal Court in Dublin heard how Ms Hawkins worked for Mr Clayton for some 16 years, earning up to €48,000 a year and living rent free at his home.
She was initially employed as a housekeeper at the bassist’s Georgian mansion — Danesmoate — in Rathfarnham, South Dublin, but quickly gained his trust and was promoted over the years to the role of personal assistant.
Prosecution barrister, senior counsel Colm O’Briain, told the jury of seven men and five women that Mr Clayton appointed Ms Hawkins as signatory to a number of his bank accounts.
It was from two particular accounts — known as the Fitzwilliam account and the Danesmoate account — that she is accused of withdrawing a total of €2.8 million over four years.
Mr Clayton, dressed in a dark jacket and white shirt, sat intently at the back of the court as the prosecution opened its case.
Mr O’Briain said Ms Hawkins and her then husband John Hawkins, who had also been employed by Mr Clayton as a driver, lived at the musician’s Danesmoate home — where U2 recorded their album The Joshua Tree.
The property was refurbished during 2005 and Ms Hawkins and her husband were forced to move into another house, which Mr Clayton picked up the monthly rent bill of around €2,600.
The pair had also been paid a joint salary, taking in around €3,800 euro a month.
But Mr Clayton continued to pay Ms Hawkins the full amount even after her marriage ended in 2007, eventually raising her monthly income to €4,080 — representing a net salary of around €48,000, the barrister added.
Mr O’Briain described the case as “a grubby tale” involving a gross breach of trust. He urged the jury not to be swayed by the fact that Clayton is famous and wealthy, saying no man deserves to be stolen from by someone he trusts.
“Mr Clayton employed Ms Hawkins from 1992. She lived in his own house for 13 or 14 years, he placed a substantial amount of trust in her,” Mr O’Briain went on.
“Trust developed. He is no different from anyone else in respect of that. He is as entitled as any other to place his trust in people, to rely on that trust and to not go about his life thinking the worst of people.”
Ms Hawkins is accused of stealing cheques from two bank accounts on which she was a signatory. She allegedly withdrew €1.7 million from the Fitzwilliam account and €1.1 million from the Danesmoate account.
The funds were then placed in three separate accounts — her own personal account, a joint account between herself and her husband John and a Bank of Ireland Credit Card Services account.
Mr Clayton will be called as a witness during the trial.