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Funds trial: U2 star gives evidence

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Adam Clayton has been a member of U2 for 30 years

Adam Clayton has been a member of U2 for 30 years

Adam Clayton has been a member of U2 for 30 years

U2 star Adam Clayton placed his absolute trust in a former personal assistant accused of stealing 2.8 million euro from him, a court has been told.

The bassist revealed he was so concerned for Carol Hawkins's welfare when she confessed to taking more than 13,000 euro from him that he found her a therapist because she claimed to be suicidal.

His former employee denies 181 counts of stealing cheques from him between 2004 and 2008.

Giving evidence against the 48-year-old defendant at her trial, Clayton claimed he was in court because he trusted people.

"She had my absolute trust," he told the Circuit Criminal Court in Dublin.

"We had been together a long time; working together. She had been very conscientious. I felt she looked after my money and on many occasions accused others of being greedy, so I was extremely surprised."

Hawkins, a mother-of-two who worked for the musician for 17 years, listened attentively as Clayton, dressed in a navy jacket and grey shirt, was grilled about their working relationship and his bank details.

The defendant was a signatory on two of his bank accounts from which it is alleged she wrote 181 cheques and lodged into her own account, as well as a joint account with her then husband John Hawkins and a credit card account.

The funds bought 22 horses, with more than 400,000 euro in cash listed as horse and horse expenditure, while thousands of euro were spent on exotic holidays and in designer boutiques in New York, such as Roberto Cavalli, the court heard.

Hawkins also bought a Volkswagen Golf for her son Joe, it was claimed, and paid for fashion and film courses which Clayton suggested may have been for her son and daughter.

PA