LATEST: U2 frontman Bono yesterday (28JUN05) accused the band's former stylist of blackmail in a Dublin, Ireland court.

The VERTIGO singer wants a batch of personal belongings - which are worth circa $6,300 (GBP3,500) and include 200 photographs, as well as a pair of trousers and a Stetson hat he once wore - back from LOLA CASHMAN.

Bono - real name PAUL HEWSON - denied Cashman's claims he gave her the items. Cashman worked for U2 for two years in the 1980s and last year (04) published an unauthorised biography of the band, INSIDE THE ZOO.

Bono told the court, "They sound like trivial items, they're really not. They are important items to the group and we take them seriously.

"You may have wealth and power, but when someone is trying to push us around and blackmail us and threaten us with books, at a certain point you have to say, 'Stop right there.'"

Bono added that he would never have given away his beloved Stetson hat, comparing it to U2 guitarist The Edge discarding one of his instruments.

He said, "It would be like The Edge giving one of his guitars away. It is not something which will happen."

In court, it also came to light that Cashman had bought the singer various sizes of trousers during the Joshua Tree tour.

Bono said, "Sadly I put on weight all the time. Oscillate is a word you could use. It's not particularly embarrassing because it's likely I would fit them again, whether they were a smaller size or a larger size."

Cashman testified that since leaving U2's entourage it had never been mentioned she'd taken anything which didn't belong to her.

U2 drummer LARRY MULLEN and manager PAUL McGUINNESS were also in court.

The case continues.

29/06/2005 02:00