Wednesday 21 February 2018

Court hears Adam Clayton’s former assistant grossly breached his trust

U2 Bass guitarist Adam Clayton's former personal assistant, Carol Hawkins, arrives at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. Photo: PA
U2 Bass guitarist Adam Clayton's former personal assistant, Carol Hawkins, arrives at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. Photo: PA
Adam Clayton arrives at court

Lyndsey Telford

THE FORMER personal assistant of U2 star Adam Clayton grossly breached his trust when she siphoned €2.8m from his bank accounts, a court has heard.

Carol Hawkins has gone on trial on 181 counts of stealing cheques from the bass player in what barristers called a "grubby tale" of prolonged, repeated and pernicious fraud.

The Circuit Criminal Court in Dublin heard that the 48-year-old allegedly stole the money from two bank accounts on which she was a signatory over a four-year period, moving the cash to accounts in her name.

Prosecution barrister, senior counsel Colm O'Briain, urged the jury of seven men and five women not to judge Clayton based on his celebrity status and wealth.

He said while the U2 star has "done well for himself and for his country", he did not deserve to be betrayed by someone he trusted.

"Mr Clayton employed Ms Hawkins from 1992," said Mr O'Briain.

"She lived in his own house for 13 or 14 years. He placed a substantial amount of trust in her. 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."

Hawkins worked for the musician for 16 years, initially as a housekeeper at Clayton's Danesmoate mansion in Rathfarnham, South Dublin.

She quickly gained his trust, was promoted over the years to the role of personal assistant, and was named as signatory on a number of his bank accounts, the court heard.

The PA lived in Danesmoate, where U2 famously recorded their album The Joshua Tree, with her then husband John Hawkins, whom Clayton also employed as a driver.

It is from two bank accounts in particular - the Fitzwilliam and Danesmoate accounts - from which she is accused of stealing from 2004 to 2008.

The court heard that the funds were allegedly moved to Hawkins' personal account, a joint account with her husband and a credit card account with Bank of Ireland.

Clayton, dressed in a dark jacket and white shirt, sat at the back of the court with U2 manager Paul McGuinness, listening intently as the prosecution opened its case.

He is expected to be called as a witness during the trial, along with officials from Bank of Ireland, advisers to Clayton and investigating gardai.

Mr O'Briain outlined Hawkins' duties and revealed that she and her husband were paid a joint salary of around €3,900 a month.

Clayton continued to pay Hawkins the full amount even after her marriage ended in 2007, he continued, and even raised her monthly income to €4,080 - representing a net salary of around €48,000, the barrister added.

And when she moved out while his Georgian mansion was being refurbished, the bassist picked up a monthly rent bill of €2,600.

Hawkins, from Lower Rathmines Road in Dublin, denies all 181 charges.

Her trial, before Judge Patrick McCartan, is expected to last six weeks.

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