Ex-assistant to U2 band member sentenced in theft case

DUBLIN Fri Jul 6, 2012 1:47pm EDT

Bass guitarist Adam Clayton of the rock band U2 perform during the first of two concerts at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, September 23, 2009. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn

Bass guitarist Adam Clayton of the rock band U2 perform during the first of two concerts at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, September 23, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Gary Hershorn

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DUBLIN (Reuters) - A former personal assistant to U2 bassist Adam Clayton who embezzled 2.8 million euros ($3.5 million) of his money to fund a lavish lifestyle was sentenced on Friday to seven years in jail.

Carol Hawkins, 48, from Dublin, nodded at the judge and smiled as she was led away to serve her prison term.

"These were crimes rooted in greed and nothing else," said judge Patrick McCartan at the Circuit Criminal Court in Dublin.

"Whether she was a fool or a very clever person matters little," he told the court, adding that "nothing could explain away the scale of this dishonesty other than greed in pursuit of a lavish lifestyle."

McCartan also rejected the contention that "she felt entitled to do what she did because she was not told to stop".

Last Friday, Hawkins was convicted after an 18-day trial in the Irish capital. Prosecutors said she stole from two of Clayton's bank accounts between 2004 and 2008.

Giving evidence, Clayton said he had been "absolutely amazed" when it was discovered that Hawkins, who enjoyed his absolute trust, had spent 434,000 euros on racehorses and stables.

Clayton, who was not in court for the sentencing, hired Hawkins to run his house near Dublin, and to cook and shop for him. She became a signatory to two of his accounts in 2004, but he said this was for legitimate expenses.

Clayton's lawyer Colm O'Briain had told the jury that Hawkins "played on the good nature and trust" of the rock musician and "proceeded like a whirlwind down Fifth Avenue and Bond Street to the delight of retailers".

(Editing by Mike Collett-White)

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