Thursday 19 October 2017

Former Adam Clayton PA spent nearly €1.5m on credit card over four years - court

Nicola Donnelly

THE FORMER personal assistant of Adam Clayton accused of stealing nearly €3m from him spent almost €1.5m on her credit card over a four year period, a court has heard.

Carol Hawkins (48) also paid out more than €434,000 in horse related expenses from her personal bank account to stud farms and trainers in America and the UK, a forensic accountant told the court. It was day eight of the trial.



The court already heard Ms Hawkins and her husband John, who was employed as Mr Clayton’s driver, owned up to 22 thoroughbred racehorses from 2005 to 2008 when they were on a joint salary of €48,000.



Hawkins of 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 totalled €2, 869,274.



David McManus, a garda forensic accountant, told prosecuting counsel Colm O’Briain BL that €22,611 had been paid to the New York Film Academy from her personal account between November 2005 and June 2006.



A further €17,971 had been paid for the lease of an apartment in New York between October 2006 and March 2007.



During this time €350,602 had been paid through a bank draft from her account to purchase an apartment in New York.



Mr McManus told counsel he examined the personal, joint and credit card accounts of Ms Hawkins along with the Danesmoate and Fitzwilliam accounts of Mr Clayton.



He said he located regular lodgements of cheques ranging from €1,500 to €310,000 from Mr Clayton’s two accounts to Ms Hawkins accounts over the four year period.



He gave evidence that prior to a lodgement of a €10,286 cheque into Ms Hawkins’ personal account, the balance was €9.70 on January 1, 2008. Further cheques from Mr Clayton’s accounts were lodged into her account bringing the balance to €29,000.



“These funds were depleted in the space of one day to €10,000 with €19,000 being paid out for horse expenses,” Mr McManus said.



He gave evidence that an average of €304,084 a year was being spent from Ms Hawkins’ credit card account alone. Her son Joe and daughter Eleanor both held a Mastercard and Visa card each linked to this account.



He broke down the expenditure from the credit card account statements which included over €330,000 being spent in department stores including Harvey Nichols, Brown Thomas, Selfridges in London, House of Frazier, Hermes UK, Gucci and Walmart.



A total of €153,409 was spent on airline tickets, over €82,000 on Amazon and other online purchases and €225,688 on hotels and restaurants.



Mr Clayton, who sat through the day’s proceedings, is expected to give evidence next week.



The trial continues before Judge Patrick McCartan and a jury of seven men and five women, and is expected to last another five weeks.



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