Former assistant of JK Rowling accused of fraud
Alert raised after credit card spending sprees
A former assistant of JK Rowling accused of fraudulently using the author’s credit card for spending sprees was a “good liar”, according to the Harry Potter author’s husband.
Dr Neil Murray said Amanda Donaldson was employed to organise his wife’s business and professional matters.
She was suspended and later dismissed in 2017 over alleged unauthorised spending that included £3,629 in retailer Molton Brown, £2,139 in card shop Paper Tiger and more than £1,800 in Starbucks and Costa coffee shops.
Rowling claims Ms Donaldson wrongly benefited from the credit card and by taking Harry Potter merchandise to a total value of almost £24,000 and is seeking damages in the civil case .
Ms Donaldson denies the claims against her.
Asked by the author’s lawyer why one of the country’s wealthiest people is pursuing an action over a relatively small amount of money, Dr Murray, 47, said: “I would say there is a matter of principle here.
“I firmly believe Amanda has stolen a substantial amount of money and Harry Potter merchandise in the office that was for sick and dying children.
“She continues to deny any of it. I feel personally we have a duty to protect any future employer.”
Airdrie Sheriff Court heard Dr Murray was a co-manager of his wife’s business affairs and an accountant raised concerns with him over the personal assistant’s spending between 2014 and 2017.
Dr Murray told the court he challenged Ms Donaldson over the money in “an astonishing encounter”.
He said: “Amanda had always adopted a lively, slightly bubbly, a bit scatty demeanour.
“I thought she might be emotional or run about the office looking for bits of paper but what I found was a completely different personality.
“She shut down, was calm and basically lied.”
Ms Donaldson’s lawyer said Dr Murray was carrying out a “character assassination” of her client.
The civil case before Sheriff Derek O’Carroll continues later in December.
HEARING: JK Rowling’s husband, Neil Murray, right, gave evidence in the civil case against Amanda Donaldson, left