Belfast Telegraph

U2 star's aide jailed for theft

U2 star Adam Clayton's former personal assistant has been sentenced to seven years in prison for the embezzlement of 2.8 million euro (£2.2 million) of his money.

Carol Hawkins was last week convicted on 181 counts of theft from the bassist's bank accounts over a four-year period. Clayton was not in court as the 48-year-old who had breached his absolute trust was led away by prison guards. She stared straight ahead as Judge Patrick McCartan delivered the sentence, trying to contain her emotions.

"Nothing, frankly, could explain away the scale of this dishonesty other than the greed in pursuit of a lavish lifestyle that was no responsibility of Mr Clayton's," said Judge McCartan.

He said the fact Ms Hawkins maintained her innocence throughout the trial was a factor in his sentencing and suggested if given an opportunity to commit a similar crime in the future, he was not entirely confident she would resist.

"These were crimes rooted in greed and nothing else," he said. "Whether she was a fool or clever person really matters very little."

Judge McCartan said Hawkins believed she was entitled to the money she stole and criticised her attitude throughout the trial. He said she contested the evidence and persisted in a "false belief in innocence" despite the fact a jury of her peers found her to be guilty.

The judge described U2 star Clayton as a good employer who showed Hawkins care and compassion. He said her crime therefore represented a significant breach of trust.

Judge McCartan also made an order for funds raised through the sale of a New York apartment bought by Hawkins to go towards paying back some of the 2.8 million euro she stole.

During the trial at the Circuit Criminal Court in Dublin, a jury of seven men and five women heard how Hawkins, of Lower Rathmines Road, Dublin had gained Clayton's "absolute trust".

No defence was given during the trial and lawyers for Hawkins told the court she still maintained her innocence - even after her conviction.

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