herald

Saturday 16 December 2017

Clayton's PA 'owned string of race horses'

U2 star Adam Clayton's former personal assistant - who is accused of stealing nearly €3m - owned up to 22 thoroughbred race horses with her former husband, a court has heard.

Carol Hawkins and John Hawkins, who was employed as Mr Clayton's driver at the time, were on a joint salary of €48,000 in 2006 when 17 of the horses, including race horses and brood mares, were in their ownership through their racing company, Plato Racing.

Hawkins (48), of Lower Rathmines Road, Dublin, has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to 181 counts of theft from Mr Clayton over a four-year period from 2004 to 2008. The alleged thefts totalled €2,862,567.

John Barrett, director at Sean Barrett Bloodstock Insurance Ltd, told prosecuting counsel Colm O'Briain he dealt with Mr Hawkins in 2005 for the purpose of insuring 22 horses. The horses insured and owned by the couple included One Great Lady, Let's Dance, Madame Mosaic and Manipulator.

"John Hawkins was described as the owner of the horses and I dealt with Carol Hawkins in relation to insurance of the horses," said Mr Barrett.

Premium

In 2006 he received an email from Hawkins to state that all of the horses, except three, are now owned by John and Carol Hawkins under Plato Racing.

Mr Barrett gave evidence that the company received an email in 2008 from Hawkins requesting cancellation of the renewal premium for all the horses as they had all been sold.

Under cross-examination by defence counsel Ken Fogarty, Mr Barrett said he had met Hawkins and her former husband "a few times" at race meetings in Leopardstown.

He agreed with Mr Fogarty that brood mares which the couple owned were kept to breed foals and that the business of breeding was low risk compared to racing horses.

"It was an investment type situation," said Mr Barrett.

The trial continues.

hnews@herald.ie



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