J.K. Rowling's husband accused his wife's ex-PA of stealing from “sick and dying children”  as the multi-millionaire author sued the single mum for £24,000.

Dr Neil Murray, 47, made the comments in court on Thursday during a legal action against the Harry Potter creator's former assistant Amanda Donaldson, 35.

His wife claims Donaldson abused a business credit card given to her to spend on booking flights and hotels for professional travel by using it for unauthorised purchases.

JK Rowling is pursuing civil action under her real name Joanne Murray against Ms Donaldson who she employed from 2014 to 2017 before she was sacked

Court documents claim Donaldson, of Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, spent £3,629 on products from Molton Brown, £2,139 in the card shop Paper Tiger, another £1,636 in Starbucks, and £1,482 on products from Jo Malone.

In one day alone, Donaldson spent £1,052 at posh soap shop Molton Brown – which Dr Murray told the court he believed was the equivalent of 400 bottles of soap.

The total unauthorised spending of £23,696 the credit card was said to be a “conservative estimate” by the family's chartered accountant.

But after Donaldson withdrew £400 in cash followed by £250, in December 2016, and failed to provide receipts or invoices, accountants began a “forensic investigation”, leading to her dismissal in April 2017.

When quizzed by solicitor Kirsteen MacDonald, representing JK Rowling, about why the couple had chosen to pursue Donaldson for a relatively low sum, Dr Murray said it was a “matter of principle”.

Dr Murray said: “I firmly believe that Amanda Donaldson has stolen a substantial amount of money and a substantial amount of Harry Potter merchandise, which was in the office to be given to sick and dying children.

“She has consistently denied all of it and she continues to deny all of it.

“I feel it is a matter of principle here.

“I firmly believe she has stolen a lot from us.

“I feel we have a duty to bring this to some kind of conclusion.

“If this was a small business, it could destroy that business.

“Not only has she denied it, she has sought to blame her colleagues and others as we have gone through this process.”

Airdrie Sheriff Court heard that suspicions about Donaldson's honesty were raised when fellow staff member Diane Brooks spotted her carrying two bags from stationery shop Paper Tiger out to her car.

The expenditure on luxury goods including stationery, Starbucks and Costa Coffee, and Molton Brown products caught the attention of Ms Brooks who contacted the family's accountants.

Giving evidence, chartered account Simon Simou told the court he believed an email from Michelin-starred restaurant Castle Terrace had been doctored by Donaldson to suggest the £400 had been used for a cash deposit ahead of a staff Christmas meal.

He passed on his concerns to Dr Murray, who contacted the restaurant manager about the suspect email and sent over a list of questions.

In response, he was told the restaurant did not accept cash deposits, that no deposit had been put down for the staff Christmas meal, and that the email provided by Donaldson had never been sent by them.

As part of her role, Donaldson was supposed to mark up 'P' for 'personal' – relating to JK Rowling's needs – and 'B' for business, and would not have been authorised to pay for takeaway coffee, the court was told.

Dr Murray said there were kitchen facilities in the office and he would not have approved spending on Starbucks or Costa Coffee.

Donaldson also claimed for M&S ready meals under 'personal' expenses, and itemised receipts included pasta dishes and chocolate buttons – which the Murray family would not have eaten, the court heard.

Both Dr Murray and Ms Brooks said in evidence that there would have been no business need for Donaldson to be spending thousands of pounds at a high street stationary store.

The author's family send personalised Christmas cards every year which are printed especially, and around £100 was spent on wrapping paper for the mail room, it was said.

Dr Murray described how he considered Donaldson to be a “good liar” when he confronted her about he discrepancies.

He said her “scatty” and “bubbly” persona dropped away as she sat across the desk from him.

After Donaldson was suspended on March 19, 2017, a safe she had access to in the office was searched and it was discovered that foreign currency had vanished.

Norwegian Kroner currency, for a trip which was later cancelled, was among the missing cash, totalling £7,742.

The next month, on April 28, 2017, Donaldson was dismissed from her job.

She denies the accusations, and solicitor Allana Turley, representing Donaldson, suggested that she had never been issued with written instructions on how to use the business card.

Sheriff Derek O'Carroll presided over the hearing, which continues.

JK Rowling's fortune is estimated at £700m.