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JK Rowling's husband brands sacked PA a 'good liar'

Amanda Donaldson has been accused of fraudulently using the Harry Potter author's credit card.

Writer: Harry Potter author JK Rowling.
Writer: Harry Potter author JK Rowling. Reuters

A former personal assistant of JK Rowling who is accused of fraudulently using her credit card to go on spending sprees was a "good liar", the Harry Potter author's husband has told a court.

Dr Neil Murray said Amanda Donaldson was employed to organise his wife's business and professional matters.

He said she was suspended and later dismissed in 2017 over alleged unauthorised spending that included £3629 in cosmetics store Molton Brown, £2139 in stationery shop Paper Tiger and more than £1800 in Starbucks and Costa.

The civil case at Airdrie Sheriff Court heard Dr Murray was a co-manager of his wife's business affairs and an accountant raised concerns with him over Ms Donaldson's spending between 2016 and 2017.

Star: Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter.
Star: Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter. Warner Bros

He said the biggest concern was over cash withdrawals of £400 and £250 in December 2016 that Ms Donaldson claimed were for a Christmas lunch deposit.

Chartered accounted Steven Simou earlier told the court he had contacted the restaurant and found no deposit had been requested or taken off the final bill.

Ms Donaldson denies the claims against her.

'At the end of the encounter I was really taken at how good a liar she was'
Dr Neil Murray

Dr Murray told the court he challenged Ms Donaldson 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. At the end of the encounter I was really taken at how good a liar she was."

The author's husband said there was a small staff of four full-time and two part-time workers who shared an office with Ms Donaldson in Edinburgh.

Dr Murray said there was "no question" about what the credit card was meant to be used for.

"This was a business card to facilitate my wife's business life," he told the court.

'I was just quite shocked to see so many expenses there, clearly not of a business nature'
Chartered accounted Steven Simou

Mr Simou earlier told the court it was found a safe Ms Donaldson had access to was missing more than £7700 after she was suspended.

The accountant had analysed the credit card account after a concern was raised by another member of staff.

He told JK Rowling's solicitor Kathleen MacDonald he believed it was fraudulent activity.

He said: "I was just quite shocked to see so many expenses there, clearly not of a business nature."

Cross-examined by Ms Donaldson's lawyer, Mr Simou said he did not know what instructions she had been given for using the card.

The civil case before Sheriff Derek O'Carroll continues.

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