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"It's about the right to begin again. The right to be free of your past. That's grace. So, yes, you can write lyrics about debt relief."

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U2 bassist Adam Clayton gives evidence against PA

U2 star Adam Clayton has started to give evidence against his former personal assistant accused of embezzling 2.8 million euro of his funds.

The Telegraph, June 21, 2012


Taking to the stand, the bassist joked he was not used to being in front of a microphone.

''I'm more of a 'dum, dum, dum', but I will practise my technique,'' said the musician, who has been a member of U2 for 30 years.

His former PA, Carol Hawkins, is on trial for stealing cheques from the bassist over a four-year-period.

The 48-year-old, from Lower Rathmines Road in Dublin, worked for Clayton for 16 years from 1992.

The mother-of-two listened attentively as Clayton, dressed in a navy jacket and grey shirt, was grilled on their working relationship and details of his bank account.

The defendant was a signatory on two of his accounts.

It was from these accounts that Ms. Hawkins stands accused of drawing 181 cheques and lodging them into her own bank and financing a lavish lifestyle.

Prosecution barrister, senior counsel Colm O'Briain, previously told the Circuit Criminal Court in Dublin that Ms. Hawkins lodged the money into her own personal account, a joint account with her then husband John Hawkins and a credit card account, between 2004 and 2008.

Clayton said Hawkins had carried out her duties "efficiently and well" when she worked for him.

He told the court he only ever hired people who were capable of doing their job to look after his affairs.

"I trusted people, and that's why we're here today," he said.

Clayton originally employed Hawkins as a housekeeper and her then husband as a driver and occasional chef.

They were paid a joint salary of around 48,000 euro (£38,725) -- a set-up Clayton described as "tax advantageous" for the couple.

Hawkins' duties evolved from looking after the house and preparing meals, to eventually looking after Clayton's books.

And when she and her husband separated -- around 2007 -- Clayton continued to pay her the full salary of the two.

Clayton told the jury of seven men and five women that the defendant had confessed in 2008 to booking herself between 13,000 euro (£10,500) and 15,000 euro (£12,100) worth of flights on Clayton's account to visit her children in the U.S. and London.

"She also mentioned that she had been suicidal and had taken an overdose," he went on.

"I was concerned for her health and recommended she see a therapist. I got her a therapist locally.

"In the matter of the money, I accepted she was a distressed woman. Her marriage broke up, her children had gone away.

"I said we would have to verify the amounts she had been claiming."

Clayton said he removed Hawkins as a signatory on his accounts, but kept her as an employee.

"She had my absolute trust. We had been together a long time -- working together. She had been very conscientious," he added.

"I felt she looked after my money and on many occasions accused others of being greedy so I was extremely surprised."

© Telegraph Media Group Limited, 2012.

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