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'What part of Carol Hawkins' psyche made her live like a JP McManus?'

WHAT part of Carol Hawkins' psyche made her want to "live the life of a JP McManus or a John Magnier?", mused the prosecution in the closing speeches.

It was the only point during the trial of the former personal assistant to Adam Clayton that we saw a flash of anger in the eyes of the normally calm and collected Carol Hawkins.

From running a small hotel on a sleepy Caribbean island, becoming the highly trusted aide of the U2 bassist, and ending up with her attending the criminal courts with her identity disguised by a green paisley scarf, it had been a long and "grubby" tale.

Throughout the 18 days of her trial, the North London woman took studious notes of the evidence and maintained a professional demeanour, though at times she must have struggled to do so.

It was probably this very air of capability that first led U2 bassist Adam Clayton to decide to offer her a job as housekeeper.

From the musician's three days in the witness box, we learnt that Mr Clayton had first come across Ms Hawkins and her then husband John on a Caribbean holiday in the Christmas of 1992.

The couple were running a small hotel with 12 shacks and confided in the musician that they wished to bring their two young children, Joe and Ellie, back home to Europe for the purpose of schooling.

"Fed up" with coming home to Ireland from tour only to find his electricity or phone turned off, Mr Clayton was seeking someone to "do some shopping, basic cooking and running the house". With her hotel experience, he thought Mrs Hawkins might be the right person for the job but pragmatically, he decided to think about the idea.

Six months later, he got in contact with her to offer her the post.

He also decided to take her husband as part of the package -- with Mr Hawkins doing some driving for him and also fancier cooking for dinner parties.


It was a generous deal. As well as their joint salary of €48,000, the Hawkins family could live rent-free at Danesmoate -- Mr Clayton's Georgian mansion in Rathfarnham, Dublin, and the location for the recording of U2's album, 'The Joshua Tree' -- with all utilities and petrol included.

Though initially employed as a housekeeper, Mrs Hawkins quickly gained his trust and was promoted to the role of personal assistant.

In 2000, Mr Clayton's accountant, Gaby Smith, suggested she might also be capable of some "simple book-keeping" and he set her up with an easy-to-use computer programme, Quick Books.

From there, the seed of possibility was sown.

By 2004, Mrs Hawkins had begun to weave a web of deception, writing out cheques to herself drawn from Mr Clayton's two bank accounts, known as the Fitzwilliam account and the Danesmoate account.

By 2008, she had squirrelled away over €2.8m of the bass guitarist's own funds and deposited them in three separate accounts -- her own personal account, a joint account with Mr Hawkins, and a Bank of Ireland Credit Card Services account.

With the money, they funded a lifestyle that even Adam Clayton himself appeared to find shocking.

On learning that one of the fraudulent transactions had been at a hotel in the South of France, Mr Clayton told the court that he had once had "coffee on the terrace".

On learning that over €2,000 had been spent, Mr Clayton sounded shocked, saying: "I didn't drink that much coffee."

Irish Independent