JK Rowling hits back after court claims she's 'unapproachable' and staff fear her mood swings by ex-PA accused of stealing £24k

The 53-year-old writer, worth £700m, accused Amanda Donaldson, 35, of trying to blame other staff members for the alleged stealing.

Donaldson, who denied any wrongdoing in court yesterday, claimed Rowling was “unapproachable” and that her employees were “terrified of her moods.”

The beloved writer and husband Dr Neil Murray, 47, insist they gave the former PA “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 action at Airdrie Sheriff Court, also says she was left with “no option” but to bring her former assistant to court.

The Edinburgh-based writer claims Donaldson stole £23,696.32 from her by inappropriately using a company card and taking Harry Potter merchandise.

In a highly unusual move, a statement issued on behalf of Rowling attacked the 35-year-old and insisted she had failed to explain alleged irregular spending.

The statement read: "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."

The statement also claimed that Donaldson attempted to blame other employees for the financial discrepancies.

It 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.

"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.

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.

The docrtor told how he met with Donaldson to discuss the claims but had been left astonished at her attitude.

He added: "I was really taken aback at how good at lying she was."

Rowling has alleged Donaldson spent £823 at Bibi Bakery, £1482 with luxury candle company Jo Malone, £264 in Boots, £115 in Costa Coffee and £3629 in cosmetic firm Molton Brown.

She is seeking damages for further claims she spent £117 in M&S Simply Food, £2139 in card shop Paper Tiger, £1636 in Starbucks and £235 in book store Waterstones.

Rowling also claims Donaldson stole Harry Potter merchandise worth more than £3200.

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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