Saturday 24 March 2018

Adam Clayton: U2 star denies money in his former pa’s account was spent on him

Lyndsey Telford

U2 STAR Adam Clayton has denied that money lodged in his former personal assistant's bank account was spent on him.

Carol Hawkins, 48, stands accused in court of embezzling €2.8m of the bassist's funds.

She has pleaded not guilty to stealing 181 cheques from Clayton and lodging money in her own account from 2004 to 2008.

Defence barrister, senior counsel Ken Fogarty, argued that money spent from Hawkins's accounts on lavish purchases, such as designer clothing and limousines, was for the musician's benefit.

"I'm denying that," said Clayton during his second day on the witness stand at the Circuit Criminal Court in Dublin.

Under cross-examination, the U2 star said he never seen Hawkins wear designer shoes "with red soles" or expensive handbags "from Fifth Avenue".

Dressed in a navy blazer and blue shirt, the relaxed musician said it was not his job to speculate what the defendant spent the alleged stolen money on.

Mr Fogarty told the court that money spent from Hawkins's accounts was varied.

"There seems to be a list from the ordinary to the extraordinary of life: from Marks and Spencer to those places where they sell handbags in New York," he went on.

"Have you ever seen her walking around with a pair of shoes with a red sole? Can you tell me if you ever saw handbags that cost a small fortune hanging off her arm?"

Clayton said he had not.

When asked if he heard an account of Hawkins's two children Eleanor and Joe "swanning around in limousines", he replied no.

The jury of seven men and five women previously heard that Hawkins owned 22 horses including racehorses and broodmares. She also allegedly spent thousands on film and fashion education courses which Clayton suggested were for her children.

Hawkins worked for the bassist for 17 years from 1992. She was signatory to two of his bank accounts and was responsible for signing off on payments related to the star's south Dublin mansion Danesmoate, ranging from petty cash to larger refurbishment bills.

The court earlier heard that she lodged the alleged stolen cheques in her personal bank account, a joint account with her then husband John Hawkins and a credit card account.

The alleged deception emerged in 2008 when she confessed to booking herself between €3,000 and €15,000 worth of flights on his account to visit her children in the US and London, the court previously heard.

Clayton has told the jury that while he was "rattled" by the revelation, he sympathised with the mother-of-two who had at the time recently gone through a marriage break-up and claimed to be suicidal.

The hearing was adjourned at the end of Clayton's cross-examination, with the case to resume on Monday.

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