"This was the best punk rock band ever, because they actually invented something."
-- Bono, on the Ramones
U2 star Adam Clayton's PA guilty of embezzling â‚¬2.8m
June 29, 2012
U2 star Adam Clayton's former personal assistant has been found guilty of embezzling €2.8m from him to fund a lavish lifestyle.
Carol Hawkins was convicted on 181 counts of theft from the bassist's bank accounts over a four-year period.
Clayton walked in to the courtroom as the jury at the Circuit Criminal Court in Dublin returned an unanimous verdict on each individual count.
Jurors had been deliberating for more than five hours.
Judge Partick McCartan released 48-year-old Hawkins on bail until sentencing on Friday July 6.
He told the jury: "The evidence in this case was overwhelming. Nobody could seriously disagree with the verdict you have given."
Hawkins showed no emotion as each verdict was delivered, which took almost 25 minutes.
She sat in the dock, staring straight ahead and resting her head on her clasped hands.
The mother-of-two had gained the musician's "absolute trust" for the 17 years she worked for him.
She was signatory on two of his bank accounts from which she wrote 181 cheques to deposit it her own account, a joint account with her then husband John Hawkins and a credit card account.
Her deception emerged in 2008 when she confessed to booking herself between €13,000 and €15,000 worth of flights on his account to visit her children in the U.S. and London.
Investigations later revealed that thousands of euro had been spent on exotic holidays and in designer boutiques in New York, such as Roberto Cavalli.
Hawkins also bought 22 horses, with more than €400,000 of Clayton's cash listed as horse and horse expenditure.
Elsewhere, a Volkswagen Golf was purchased for her son Joe, while the rock star's money paid for fashion and film courses for her children.
Clayton originally employed Hawkins, of Lower Rathmines Road in Dublin, as a housekeeper in 1992 and her then husband as a driver and occasional chef.
But her duties evolved from looking after the house and preparing meals, to eventually looking after Clayton's books.
The bassist revealed he was so concerned for her welfare even after her first confession that he found her a therapist because she claimed to be suicidal.
No defence was given during the trial.
Outside court Clayton met fans and posed for photographs before making a brief statement.
"I welcome today's outcome and I wish to thank the jury, An Garda Siochana and all those involved with the case," he said.
"I'd like to thank all of my family, friends and colleagues for their support."
© Irish Independent, 2012.