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Clayton's former PA loses appeal against 7-year jail term for theft

U2 guitarist Adam Clayton's former personal assistant has lost her appeal against the severity of a seven-year jail sentence imposed on her for stealing from him.

Last week, the Court of Criminal Appeal (CCA) dismissed Carol Hawkins' appeal against her conviction.

The issue of severity of sentence was put back until yesterday when the CCA said that as no error of principle had been identified in the appeal, the court would not interfere with the sentence.

The seven-year sentence was imposed on her by Judge Patrick McCartan at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in July 2012.

Neither Ms Hawkins, who at her trial denied the charges, nor Mr Clayton were present in court for the judgment.

Her appeals were opposed by the DPP.

Her lawyer, Ken Fogarty SC, argued she would be "forever known" as the person who committed these offences against Mr Clayton. There was a "significant amount of public notoriety" about the case.

She would have to "change her identity" in order to attain any degree of anonymity after she is released from the Dochas Centre, where she is currently detained, Mr Fogarty claimed.

Art

A number of education reports on Ms Hawkins were submitted to the court and since she was incarcerated, she had been a model prisoner, the appeal judges were told. She is doing a number of courses including an Open University degree in Art History.

Counsel for the DPP, Colm O Briain BL, argued the seven-year sentence was "proper and appropriate" given the serious nature of the offences.

Hawkins (51), originally from North London but with a last address at Lower Rathmines Road, Dublin, was convicted of 181 counts of theft from two of Mr Clayton's Bank of Ireland accounts from 2004 to 2008.

The thefts totalled just over €2.8m.

She used the money to purchase and maintain 22 thoroughbred racehorses, a €310,000 New York apartment, holidays, education for her children and shopping sprees.

She also spent €1.4m on her credit card funded from Mr Clayton's accounts.

Giving the three-judge CCA's decision, Mr Justice Peter Charleton said the maximum sentence for this offence was ten years.

He said the ongoing efforts of Ms Hawkins at reform were entirely to her credit.

hnews@herald.ie


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