Carol Hawkins, personal assistant for 17 years to U2 bassist Adam Clayton, was convicted yesterday of embezzling $3.5 million (€2.8m) from her employer over a four-year period, the Irish Independent reported.
Hawkins faced 181 counts of theft, to which jurors delivered a unanimous guilty verdict on all counts after five hours’ deliberation today.
"The evidence in this case was overwhelming,” Judge Patrick McCartan told the jury. “Nobody could seriously disagree with the verdict you have given."
The trial showed that Hawkins had purchased 22 racehorses using more than €400,000 from Clayton’s accounts. She also spent Clayton’s money on a Volkswagen Golf for her son, film and fashion courses for both her children, lavish holidays, and at New York designer boutiques, including Roberto Cavalli.
Hawkins’ lawyers said she still called herself innocent, but Hawkins kept her face blank as the verdict was delivered, looking straight ahead and resting her head on her hands, according to the Irish Independent.
Hawkins’ defense insisted that she had used her own credit card to purchase items for Clayton, and that the payments rectified the imbalance, BreakingNews.ie reported.
The Dublin woman, of Lower Rathmines Rd, was hired as housekeeper to Clayton in 1992, but her job expanded over time to overseeing Clayton’s finances. Hawkins became signatory on two of Clayton’s bank accounts, and used the privilege to write 181 checks to her own bank and credit card accounts.
Though Hawkins told Clayton in 2008 that she had used his money to buy herself flights to visit her children in the US and London, a value of over €13,000, he responded to her claim that she was suicidal by finding her a therapist, according to BreakingNews.ie.
Judge McCartan released Hawkins on bail until her sentencing next Friday.
Clayton appeared outside the court and thanked his friends, family, colleagues and fans for their support.
“I welcome today’s outcome and I wish to thank the jury, An Garda Siochana [the Irish Police] and all those involved with the case,” he said.