Belfast Telegraph

U2 aide jailed for 'crime of greed'

A former aide to U2 star Adam Clayton has been jailed for seven years after embezzling almost three million euro - in what a judge labelled a crime "rooted in greed".

Carol Hawkins siphoned his funds in pursuit of a lavish lifestyle that included racehorses, first class flights, a New York apartment and designer clothes.

The personal assistant, who had worked for the bassist for 17 years, was convicted on 181 counts of theft between 2004 and 2008, totalling 2.8 million euro.

Clayton was not in the Circuit Criminal Court in Dublin as Judge Patrick McCartan said the case highlighted a significant breach of trust between the pair.

"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," the judge added.

Clayton will not be commenting on the sentence, his spokeswoman said.

Hawkins splashed the stolen cash on 22 racehorses, exotic holidays, limousine services and in designer boutiques in New York, such as Roberto Cavalli. She bought a Volkswagen Golf for her son and paid for fashion and film courses for her children.

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

The mother of two was a signatory on two of Clayton's bank accounts from which she wrote 181 separate cheques and deposited into her own personal bank account, a joint account with her then husband and a credit card account.

Defence barrister, senior counsel Ken Fogarty, had said Hawkins was not a devious woman and had no money "squirrelled away" in Marbella for after her release. He pointed out that Hawkins had no more than a high school education and that she intends to try to pay back the money.

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