Nanny's drunken row claims are lies, says Cranberries singer

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The Independent Online

A millionaire rock singer has accused a former nanny suing her for alleged mistreatment of telling "downright lies" by making lurid claims about her private life.

A millionaire rock singer has accused a former nanny suing her for alleged mistreatment of telling "downright lies" by making lurid claims about her private life.

Dolores O'Riordan, the lead vocalist of the Cranberries, admitted in the High Court in Dublin that failing to issue her dom- estic staff with contracts had been an "unfortunate" lapse.

But the musician strenuously denied that she and her husband, Don Burton, had subjected their baby son's carer, Joy Fahy, to poor treatment which had culminated in her false imprisonment.

Ms Fahy, 34, a "celebrity nanny" who had previously worked for Larry Mullen, the U2 drummer, and the model Elle Macpherson, has alleged that Mr Burton reacted with fury during a holiday in Canada when she expressed concern about being asked to look after the child alone for six weeks.

Ms O'Riordan denied suggestions that her husband was "drunk, enraged, his eyes red and his fists clenched" and that he shouted that he would "get her out of here on the first bloody flight home".

The 33-year-old singer said: "My husband was absolutely never drunk. He would never drink so much morning, noon and night."

The couple offered Ms Fahy £500 a week and accommodation at the family's 158-acre estate at Kilmallock, Co Limerick during her employment in 1999, the court has heard. She was also given the use of a BMW.

But the nanny claims her life was shattered when she was sacked in June 1999 after the incident in Canada, and has since had difficulty in retrieving her belongings - including designer clothing and her horse, Fern - from Co Limerick.

She is claiming €12,700 (£9,000), a Cherokee four-wheel drive vehicle and a deposit for a flat which she claims were promised to her if her 12-month verbal contract was terminated.

Ms O'Riordan insisted that she had not been involved in the employment arrangements for her staff and left such issues to her husband. But she described as "rather unfortunate" the arrangement by which the couple did not give their employees written contracts.

Under cross-examination, the singer denied a series of accusations by the nanny, including claims that she was an obsessive who repeatedly ironed items of clothing and woke her child for baths so she could sleep late in the morning.

The court has also heard claims that Mr Burton took their son around the lake at their Canadian retreat on a jet- ski, without a life-jacket while holding a can of beer. Ms O'Riordan said all the claims were "downright lies". Her husband has said it is impossible to ride the craft with one hand.

Ms Fahy denied an allegation that, while working for Ms Macpherson in London, she had illegally claimed unemployment benefit.

Ms O'Riordan said she had no explanation for why Ms Fahy had made the claims. She said: "I wouldn't analyse her psychology that deeply. I wouldn't know how she'd think. We didn't fire her. She left."

Mr Justice Jonathan Quirk is expected to deliver his judgment today.