JK Rowling’s ex-PA saw job as a ‘blank cheque’ to defraud Harry Potter author of £22,236 leaving writer to ‘suffer financially’ as a result,
- Amanda Donaldson, 36, worked as Rowling’s PA from Feb 2014 to April 2017
- She was sacked for gross misconduct and is accused of taking £22,236 from her
- Civil case brought by author concludes today at Airdrie Sheriff Court in Scotland
Amanda Donaldson, 36 (pictured outside court today) worked as Rowling’s personal assistant between February 2014 and April 2017 when she was sacked for gross misconduct
Harry Potter author JK Rowling ‘suffered financially’ when her former PA took £22,236 from her, a court heard today.
Amanda Donaldson, 36, worked as Rowling’s personal assistant between February 2014 and April 2017 when she was sacked for gross misconduct.
Rowling, 53, claims Donaldson wrongly benefited to a value of £22,236 by spending on a company card and taking Harry Potter merchandise.
The Harry Potter writer is using her married name Joanne Murray in a civil case at Airdrie Sheriff Court where she is demanding damages from her former employee. Donaldson denies the claims.
Rowling’s lawyer Kirsteen MacDonald told Sheriff Derek O’Carroll her client had suffered financially as a result of Donaldson’s actions.
The court was previously told Rowling’s husband Dr Neil Murray demanded she pay £20,000 to settle the dispute. Donaldson claimed she felt ‘threatened’ by his actions.
Miss MacDonald said: ‘I would respectfully submit that the pursuer has evidenced a breach of trust in this case by the defender who entered into a fraudulent scheme in the knowledge that this use of the credit card wasn’t allowed and that it was done to the pursuers financial detriment.
‘It was clear from the pursuer and Dr Murray that it was impossible to calculate the full extent of the losses and that the sum sued for was a conservative estimate of the loss sustained by the full extent of the misuse of the business credit card.
JK Rowling, 53 (left) claims her former PA Amanda Donaldson wrongly benefited to a value of £22,236 by spending on a company card and taking Harry Potter merchandise. The court previously heard her husband Dr Neil Murray (right) ‘demanded’ she pay £20,000 to settle the dispute
‘I would suggest that the witnesses for the pursuer and defender have contradictory evidence and where there were contradictions I would suggest you prefer the evidence offered by the pursuer.
Pictured: Donaldson denies the claims against her
‘There was a frank difference in evidence given by the pursuer to that given by the defender.’
She alleges Donaldson made transactions including £3,179 in retailer Molton Brown, £2,139 in card shop Paper Tiger and more than £1,619 in Starbucks and Costa coffee shops on a company credit card without authorisation.
She is also accused of fraudulently obtaining £7,742 of foreign currency, more than £1,500 in cash and Harry Potter merchandise worth £3,213 that should have been donated to sick children.
Miss MacDonald branded the spending ‘entirely unauthorised and fraudulent’ and said that only small amounts had been authorised by Rowling.
Describing the missing foreign currency, Miss MacDonald said: ‘As part of a fraudulent scheme the defender would purchase excessive amounts of foreign currency in the clear knowledge that it was only required for security and then misappropriated that from the safe.
‘A total of £7742 was fraudulently misappropriated in this way..’
She added: ‘These went missing during the time of the defender’s employment and I would submit to the court that this was a fraudulent misappropriation of this merchandise as part of the fraudulent scheme perpetrated against the pursuer.
‘The defender saw an opportunity to exploit the lax procedures of maintaining the merchandise which was of value to the pursuer.
‘The defender saw her employment as an opportunity to benefit for herself at the expense of the pursuer.
‘The removal of these products without notifying those who were responsible for these products is fraud by failure to advise those responsible for these products.
‘These were to go to sick children not into the hands of the defender or the defender’s partner.’
Rowling’s lawyer Kirsteen MacDonald told Sheriff Derek O’Carroll her client had suffered financially as a result of Donaldson’s actions. She is pictured in July 2016
Amanda Donaldson denies the claims. She is pictured outside court at an earlier hearing