Glasgow & West Scotland

JK Rowling assistant denies 'ridiculous' spending

JK Rowling Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption JK Rowling has brought the civil action under her married name of Joanne Murray

A former personal assistant to JK Rowling has denied "ridiculous" spending on the author's credit card.

Amanda Donaldson is accused of using the card to make personal purchases and of taking Harry Potter merchandise worth almost £24,000.

Under cross-examination, Ms Donaldson insisted the spending was directly related to Ms Rowling.

The author is pursuing damages in a civil case at Airdrie Sheriff Court under her married name Joanne Murray.

Amanda Donaldson, 35, from Coatbridge in Lanarkshire, was suspended and later dismissed in 2017 over the allegations.

'Strange combination'

The court heard Ms Rowling's lawyer, Kirsteen MacDonald, query transactions made by the former PA at the Paper Tiger gift shop totalling more than £2,000.

Referring to one receipt showing the purchase of five chocolate bars and a Harris Tweed purse, the former assistant told the court they were bought as a gift for a contact to "maintain Mrs Murray's business relationship".

Image copyright PA
Image caption Amanda Donaldson was dismissed over the allegations against her in 2017

However, the lawyer said: "That is a strange combination (of purchases). It is ridiculous to suggest that's what you would send to a business contact of Mrs Murray.

"Is it not the case here that you have again been caught out and this purchase was for you?"

Amanda Donaldson replied: "Absolutely not."

'I love you'

The former PA was also asked about the purchase of Halloween cards from Paper Tiger as well as three chocolate letters - I, L and Y.

Ms Donaldson said they were bought for an ill child on behalf of Ms Rowling.

However, the lawyer said: "I put it to you the letters stand for 'I love you' and were bought for you to give someone you were in a relationship with, or for your own child."

Image copyright Google
Image caption The civil case is being heard at Airdrie Sheriff Court

Ms Donaldson denied the claim and said: "I recall the purchase as a whole but I don't recall the particular letters."

The court has previously heard testimony from Amanda Donaldson that she was never given specific instructions for the use of the company credit card.

'Blame others'

She also described the Harry Potter author as being inapproachable and said she was not to be disturbed while writing.

Those claims prompted a statement issued on behalf of the Harry Potter author, saying she did not accept the position as stated by her former employee.

The statement added: "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."

The civil case before Sheriff Derek O'Carroll continues.

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