JK Rowling sues her former PA ‘for stealing £24,000’

JK Rowling sues her former PA ‘for stealing £24,000 by using a business credit card to splash out on cosmetics, luxury gifts and two CATS and helping herself to Harry Potter merchandise’

  • Amanda Donaldson worked for the author JK Rowling between 2014 and 2017 
  • She had been responsible for funds and was provided with a credit card 
  • Discrepancies were picked up in February last year on statements revealing a high level of personal spending 

Amanda Donaldson (pictured) has denied the claims made against her by author JK Rowling

Harry Potter author JK Rowling has launched a £24,000 legal claim against a former employee after she allegedly stole merchandise and splashed out on luxury gifts.

Rowling, 53, claims Amanda Donaldson who had been employed by the writer for over three years has broken strict working agreements by using a company credit card and money from a safe to buy high-end cosmetics, gifts and even two cats.

Donaldson, 35, worked for Rowling as a personal assistant between February 2014 and April 2017 before being sacked for gross misconduct.

Legal papers lodged at Airdrie Sheriff Court allege Donaldson benefited to a value of £23,696.32 by spending on a company business credit card and taking Harry Potter merchandise.

It is claimed Donaldson from Coatbridge in Lanarkshire, had responsibility for funds and was provided with a credit card for buying items in connection with business affairs. She also had access to a safe containing foreign money.

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She had to submit statements and receipts once a month to the accountants, but discrepancies were picked up in February last year on statements revealing a high volume of personal spending by Donaldson.

She had a crunch meeting with an accountant to discuss use of card and was later suspended.

JK Rowling (left) is suing her former personal assistant. Rowling’s husband Neil Murray (right) had discovered that Amanda Donaldson had withdrew £400 cash for a deposit which had not been paid

Rowling, who is using her married name Joanne Murray in the action, 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 Molten Brown.

Donaldson has denied the claims and said Rowling has ‘not suffered any loss and is not entitled to damages’ from her.

The author 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.

As well as this it is claimed that Donaldson bought two cats worth £1200 and withdrew £400 in cash for a deposit for a restaurant lunch but Rowling’s husband Neil Murray discovered no deposit had been paid.

Rowling who has an estimated fortune of £650 million thanks to book sales of more than 400 million, is also claiming Donaldson claimed £107 for a refund from department store John Lewis for a Lego set.

It is alleged that Donaldson, who controlled memorabilia requests from fans, used her position to steal a Harry Potter Motorised Hogwarts Express worth £467.56, a Harry Potter Wizard Collection worth £2231.76 and a Harry Potter Tales of Beedle The Bard Set worth £395.

The items Donaldson is alleged to have splashed out on 

Splashed out

£3629 – on Molten Brown cosmetics 

£2139 – stationary/card shop, Paper Tiger 

£1482 – with luxury candle company Jo Malone 

She had allegedly forked out £1482 on candles from Jo Malone

£264 – in Boots 


Harry Potter Wizard Collection – worth £2231.76

Harry Potter Tales of Beedle The Bard Set – worth £395 

Harry Potter Crystal Ornaments – worth £48 

Harry Potter Pin Badges  – worth £24    

She also alleges Donaldson took a Harry Potter Monster Book of Monsters worth £47, two Harry Potter Crystal Ornaments valued at £48 and Harry Potter Pin Badges worth £24.

The author has also claimed her former employee of taking £7,742 of foreign money from a safe.

Rowling says she suffered losses as a consequence of fraud perpetrated against her by Donaldson.

She claims Donaldson deceived her and ‘would not have settled business card payments or allowed access to the safe or Harry Potter merchandise without having been deceived’ and says Donaldson has refused or delayed making payment.

A spokeswoman for Rowling said: ‘I can confirm JK Rowling has taken legal action against her former personal assistant, Amanda Donaldson, following her dismissal for gross misconduct involving a substantial breach of trust.

‘As the case is not yet concluded we are not able to comment further and there won’t be any comment from JK Rowling.’

Donaldson was unavailable for comment.

The case before Sheriff Derek O’Carroll is due back in court later this year.

Rowling wed her second husband, Neil Murray, a doctor in a private ceremony in 2001.

The Edinburgh-based writer, who also pens crime novels under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, has given away millions from her fortune to fund charity work.

Rowling founded and is president of the Lumos Foundation, which works to stop the practice of children being held institutions, and also established the Volant Charitable Trust, which supports a number of good causes at home abroad.

The charitable foundations are largely funded by individual donations from Rowling and royalties from her books.

As well as her children’s charity work, the author has also donated £10M to a multiple sclerosis research centre at Edinburgh University in memory of her mum Anne, who died of MS at the age of 45. 

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