THREE NHS managers took more than £700,000 of public money using fake names inspired by rock stars, Merthyr Crown Court heard yesterday (October 9).

They are accused of paying bogus invoices for building work by Paul Hewson – the real name of U2 singer Bono – and to David Evans, the Irish band's guitarist, The Edge.

Two of the defendants are from the Chepstow area.

Mark Evill, 47, of Earlswood Road, Shirenewton, and Robert Howells, 65, of Old Barn, Sedbury, allegedly used the musicians' names as cover to abuse their NHS managerial positions and line their pockets with £707,947.24 of health cash.

Evill allegedly setting up a company called George Morgan Ltd, named after his dog, to pay the fake invoices from the Powys Teaching Health Board, where he was project manager.

Prosecutor Christopher Rees said Evill signed off payments to company staff in the "fictitious name of Paul Hewson a.k.a Bono of U2".

Mr Rees said: "This was the vehicle used by Evill for the fraud. It was a company set up for that purpose."

Jury members were also told of a fraudulent quote for building work at Brecon Hospital signed by "David Evans".

Mr Rees said: "This is the alias of the U2 guitarist known as The Edge."

Evill is accused of using letterheads of real firms to provide the health board with fake quotes.

Mr Rees said Howells, a project manager at the same health board, "played a vital role in facilitating the fraud and he allowed himself to be bribed to allow Evill to continue his actions."

Evill is alleged to have bought Howells a Ford Focus worth more than £10,000 for his part in the fraud.

Mr Rees added: "The car was clearly part of Howells' payment for Evill's fraudulent activity."

A third defendant, from Merthyr Tydfil, was also allegedly bribed by Evill to comply with the fraud.

At his police interview, Evill denied fraudulent activity and claimed it was "common knowledge" that "George Morgan was his company".

Evill is alleged to have filled and sealed evidence bags filled with documents supporting his defence and then told police they'd been left behind at his house.

Mr Rees said: "Evill created and planted these evidence bags to bolster his defence at his trial."

The trio deny fraud.

Evill also denies perverting the course of justice and three counts of transferring criminal property.

The trial continues.