Harry Potter author JK Rowling launches blistering attack on former PA

Author JK Rowling (pictured in April) today launched a blistering attack on her former PA

Author JK Rowling (pictured in April) today launched a blistering attack on her former PA

Author JK Rowling (pictured in April) today launched a blistering attack on her former PA

Harry Potter author JK Rowling today launched a blistering attack on her former PA who she accuses of stealing nearly £24,000 from her.

The 53-year-old millionaire writer hit out after Airdrie Sheriff Court heard Amanda Donaldson, 35, deny any wrongdoing.

Rowling and her husband Dr Neil Murray, 47, of Edinburgh, insist they gave Donaldson ‘every’ opportunity to explain spending on a credit card as well as missing items and cash but she refused.

Rowling, who is using her married name Joanne Murray in the court action, also said she was left with ‘no option’ but to bring her former assistant to court.

The writer claims Donaldson wrongly benefited to a value of £23,696.32 by spending on a company card and taking Harry Potter merchandise.

In an unusual move, a statement issued on behalf of Rowling today attacked Donaldson – saying: ‘JK Rowling is taking legal action against her former personal assistant, Amanda Donaldson, following her dismissal for gross misconduct involving a substantial breach of trust.

Amanda Donaldson, pictured leaving Airdrie Sheriff Court yesterday, denies any wrongdoing

Amanda Donaldson, pictured leaving Airdrie Sheriff Court yesterday, denies any wrongdoing

Rowling and her husband Dr Neil Murray (pictured yesterday) say they gave her 'every' chance to explain spending on a credit card

Rowling and her husband Dr Neil Murray (pictured yesterday) say they gave her 'every' chance to explain spending on a credit card

Amanda Donaldson, pictured (left) leaving court yesterday, denies any wrongdoing – but Rowling’s husband Dr Neil Murray (right, also yesterday) insists the couple gave her ‘every’ opportunity to explain spending on a credit card

‘Ms Donaldson’s dismissal last year related to alleged abuses of her expense account and misplacement of items amounting to a significant value.’

Rowling added that Donaldson had not ‘adequately explained her excessive spending on the business credit card or the missing items and cash’.

The statement continued: ‘Before raising the court action, Ms Rowling and her husband gave Ms Donaldson every opportunity to explain the discrepancies in her credit card spending and the missing items and cash, but Ms Donaldson chose to deny any wrongdoing and instead to blame other members of Ms Rowling’s staff.

‘During her evidence Ms Rowling explained to the court that she was left with no option but to raise the court action, in order to protect the reputation of her existing staff, and to ensure Ms Donaldson is not in the position to breach the trust of another employer.

The Harry Potter author is taking legal action at Airdrie Sheriff Court (pictured on December 6)

The Harry Potter author is taking legal action at Airdrie Sheriff Court (pictured on December 6)

The Harry Potter author is taking legal action at Airdrie Sheriff Court (pictured on December 6)

‘As this is now a matter for the sheriff to determine, it is not appropriate to comment further at this time.’

Giving evidence, Donaldson denied any wrongdoing and claimed Rowling was a ‘generous but not approachable’ employer.

Full statement issued on behalf of JK Rowling 

‘J.K. Rowling is taking legal action against her former personal assistant, Amanda Donaldson, following her dismissal for gross misconduct involving a substantial breach of trust.

‘Ms Donaldson’s dismissal last year related to alleged abuses of her expense account and misplacement of items amounting to a significant value.

‘Ms Rowling does not accept the position as stated by Amanda Donaldson in her evidence, and does not find that she has adequately explained her excessive spending on the business credit card or the missing items and cash.

‘Before raising the court action, Ms Rowling and her husband gave Ms Donaldson every opportunity to explain the discrepancies in her credit card spending and the missing items and cash, but Ms Donaldson chose to deny any wrongdoing and instead to blame other members of Ms Rowling’s staff.

‘During her evidence Ms Rowling explained to the court that she was left with no option but to raise the court action, in order to protect the reputation of her existing staff, and to ensure Ms Donaldson is not in the position to breach the trust of another employer.

‘As this is now a matter for the sheriff to determine, it is not appropriate to comment further at this time.’

She said: ‘Mrs Rowling could be really generous, the job was quite tense so I wouldn’t say she was approachable because she would be writing and I was advised not to disturb her.

‘The office staff would sometimes ask if she was in a good mood if she was coming in, in a terrified manner. You wouldn’t want to upset her but she was generous.

‘I fully respected my role because I was a single parent and would never have done anything like that and I’m really quite upset and hurt.

‘Personally it has been a huge strain, I was five months pregnant when I was suspended. I found it all really difficult and quite disgusting.’

Dr Murray had earlier branded Donaldson a ‘liar’ and said he quizzed her over claims she wrongly used a credit card for personal use.

He told how he met with Donaldson to discuss the claims but was left astonished at her attitude. He added: ‘I was really taken aback at how good at lying she was.’

Rowling alleged Donaldson spent £823 at Bibi Bakery, £1,482 with luxury candle company Jo Malone, £264 in Boots, £115 in Costa Coffee and £3,629 in cosmetic firm Molton Brown.

She is seeking damages for further claims she spent £117 in M&S Simply Food, £2,139 in card shop Paper Tiger, £1,636 in Starbucks and £235 in book store Waterstones.

Rowling also claims Donaldson stole Harry Potter merchandise worth more than £3,200.

It is further claimed Donaldson bought two cats worth £1200 and also removed £7,742 of foreign money from a safe. The hearing before Sheriff Derek O’Carroll continues. 

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