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Clayton solicitor recovered laptop from former PA's home

Adam Clayton's solicitor has told a trial that he may have advised a personal assistant of the U2 band member to seek legal advice.

Philip Lee told the trial of Carol Hawkins, a former PA of Mr Clayton who is accused of stealing almost €3m, that he recovered a laptop from her home after Mr Clayton made him aware of concerns over financial and confidentiality matters.

Hawkins (48), 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.

Mr Lee said he arrived at Hawkins's rented accommodation at Crannagh Road, Rathfarnham on October 31, 2009.

"I received a laptop from Ms Hawkins, which I then gave to Gabby Smith, Mr Clayton's accountant at the time, and I didn't interfere with any of the data on it."

Hawkins was "saddened" when he visited her as she had told him her husband, John, had left her.

He said he "may have" told Hawkins to get a solicitor in view of the suspicion of the missing €90,000.

Tim Rolston, a forensic accountant, said he was engaged by Mr Lee to carry out an investigation of alleged misappropriation of Mr Clayton's funds.

He said he recovered a thumb drive of QuickBooks, the accounting system Hawkins was using.

"I tried to trace cheques in QuickBooks, but I couldn't find the transactions that were going through the bank statements."

The trial continues.