Clayton's ex-aide guilty of fraud

 

U2 star Adam Clayton’s former personal assistant has been found guilty of defrauding €2.8 million from him.

Carol Hawkins was convicted on 181 counts of theft from the bassist’s bank accounts over a four-year period.

Mr Clayton walked in to the courtroom as the jury at the Circuit Criminal Court in Dublin, which had been deliberating for over five hours, returned unanimous verdicts on each individual count.

Judge Partick McCartan released 48-year-old Hawkins on bail until sentencing on Friday, July 6th.

“The evidence in this case was overwhelming. Nobody could seriously disagree with the verdict you have reached," he said.

Hawkins showed no emotion as each verdict was delivered, which took almost 25 minutes. She sat in the dock, staring straight ahead and resting her head on her clasped hands.

The mother-of-two had gained the musician’s “absolute trust” for the 17 years she worked for him.

She was signatory on two of his bank accounts from which she wrote 181 cheques to deposit it her own account, a joint account with her then husband John Hawkins and a credit card account.

The thefts emerged in 2008 when she confessed to booking herself between €13,000 and €15,000 worth of flights on his account to visit her children in the US and London.

Investigations later revealed that thousands of euro had been spent on exotic holidays and in designer boutiques in New York, such as Roberto Cavalli. Hawkins also bought 22 horses, with more than €400,000 of Clayton’s cash listed as horse and horse expenditure.

Clayton originally employed Hawkins, of Lower Rathmines Road in Dublin, as a housekeeper in 1992 and her then husband as a driver and occasional chef.

But her duties evolved from looking after the house and preparing meals, to eventually looking after Clayton’s books.

The bassist revealed he was so concerned for her welfare even after her first confession that he found her a therapist because she claimed to be suicidal.

No defence was given during the trial.

Outside court, Mr Clayton met fans and posed for photographs before making a brief statement.

“I welcome today’s outcome and I wish to thank the jury, An Garda Síochána and all those involved with the case,” he said. “I’d like to thank all of my family, friends and colleagues for their support.”

Mr Clayton, dressed in a navy jacket, grey trousers and white and navy shirt, also shook hands with some of the jurors.

Lawyers for Hawkins, told the court she still maintained her innocence. They denied she had taken the money between 2004 and 2008, instead arguing that she sometimes used her own credit card to purchase items for his benefit to keep his card in credit.

Outside the court, Mr Clayton welcomed the verdict, and thanked those who supported him throughout the case.

“I welcome today’s outcome and I wish to thank the jury, an Garda Síochána and all those involved in the case. I would like to thank my family, friends and colleagues for their support,” he said.

He declined to answer any further questions from the media.

Mr Clayton stopped for pictures with a fan, before being pursued by cameramen and photographers to his waiting taxi.

Some time later, Carol Hawkins emerged from the court flanked by her solicitor, wrapped tightly in a green headscarf and sunglasses.

She too refused any questions.

Additional reporting: PA