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Former U2 PA loses appeal over €3m theft

U2 GUITARIST Adam Clayton's former personal assistant Carol Hawkins has lost her appeal against her conviction for theft from the U2 bass guitarist.

The court will give its decision in the next few days on Hawkins' appeal against the severity of the seven-year sentence imposed on her by Judge Patrick McCartan at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in July 2012.

Hawkins (51), originally from North London but with a last address at Lower Rathmines Road, Dublin was convicted of 181 counts of theft from two of Mr Clayton's Bank of Ireland accounts over a four year period from 2004 to 2008.

The scale of the thefts totalled €2,869,274.

Hawkins used the money to purchase and maintain 22 thoroughbred racehorses, a €310,000 New York apartment, holidays, education for her children and shopping sprees.

She also spent €1.4m on her credit card funded from Mr Clayton's accounts.

She denied the charges and appealed against both conviction and severity of the seven year sentence imposed.

This morning the Court of Criminal Appeal composed of Mr Justice Peter Charleton, presiding alongside Mr Justice Michael Moriarty and Mr Justice Peter Kelly upheld the conviction and dismissed all grounds of the appeal.

In her appeal lawyers for Hawkins argued her conviction was unsafe on grounds including that there were inadequacies in the disclosure process of her trial, the refusal to exclude witnesses from court during cross examination and the admission of prejudicial evidence against her.

In addition Ken Fogarty SC, for Ms Hawkins, said the privacy afforded to Mr Clayton during the trial in 2012 had "effectively hamstrung" Ms Hawkins' defence.