Natalie McGarry received money from parents while volunteering, jury told
The dad of former MP Natalie McGarry told a jury on Friday that he gave his daughter between £15-20,000.
Brian McGarry, 70, stated that he paid her during her time she volunteered for Women for Independence and Yes Scotland for a three-year period up until she was elected in 2015.
Brian told a jury at Glasgow Sheriff Court that he was "happy" to make the payments as McGarry committed herself to a cause that he believed in.
McGarry, 40, who represented Glasgow East for the SNP, allegedly stole more than £25,000 from two organisations advocating for Scottish independence between April 2013 and August 2015.
McGarry is said to have embezzled £21,000 while treasurer for Women for Independence (WFI) between 26 April 2013 and 30 November 2015.
A second charge states McGarry took £4,661 between 9 April 2014 and 10 August 2015 when she was Treasurer, Secretary and Convenor of Glasgow Regional Association of the SNP.
McGarry - of Clarkston, East Renfrewshire - denies the two charges.
Brian - a retired civil servant - told the court in evidence that he was the guarantor on his daughter's £5,000 Amigo Loan which jurors heard was taken out in 2013.
He stated that he made one repayment of £197 as McGarry had failed to do so.
Brian stated that he and his wife gave McGarry money "regularly" from a Scottish building society bank account made up from their retirement lump sums.
He said: "We knew her financial situation and she was pursuing a cause I spent all my adult life supporting.
"She couldn't do it all and was working night and day with WFI and Yes Scotland."
He later said: "Looking back I paid out between £15 to £20,000 per a three year campaign, myself and my wife."
Allan MacLeod, defending, asked the witness if he was happy to contribute to McGarry at that time and he replied: "Yes."
He then went on to say that he paid McGarry a further £3-4,000 as well as contributed £500 to a holiday before she became an MP.
Brian stated that he was "surprised" about the developments which came out about WFI's finances and McGarry.
He said: "If it was the figure she misappropriated, we could have and would have covered that, if necessary.
"I didn't think it would be anywhere near that."
McGarry's former office manager and friend Rachel Mackie, 41, earlier told the jury that she and McGarry had an “up and down” relationship.
Mrs Mackie claimed that she called McGarry when a press release from WFI revealed they were dealing with the police regarding mismanagement of the organisation’s finances.
She said: “I knew straight away it was Natalie...she was inconsolable.
“She was in bits, she was wailing down the phone, she couldn’t believe this had happened and that they did this to her.”
Mrs Mackie believed at the time that it was a “mistake.”
The witness claimed that she looked through McGarry’s emails to find that she had taken £5,000 from Amigo Loans.
Mrs Mackie said: “She shouldn’t have had that outstanding as an MP.”
Prosecutor Alistair Mitchell: “Why?”
Mrs Mackie: “She made a fortune, she was on a good salary and her partner was a councillor, she would be in the office complaining about being skint all the time.”
Mrs Mackie was asked what the impact was on her after she resigned from McGarry’s office in 2016.
She replied: “It was really upsetting, my husband doesn’t trust people anymore.
“I left a good job with a really good man to move with my husband.
“We fought so hard for Natalie when the allegations were made.
“I really believed in her and was made a fool of - I think we all were.”
Mr MacLeod put it to the witness that McGarry was “disorganised and chaotic” when it came to finances in general.
Mrs Mackie replied: “I suppose so.”
Mr MacLeod: “At no time did she accept she did anything wrong in terms of committing a crime?”
Mrs Mackie: “That’s right, yes.”
The trial continues before sheriff Tom Hughes.
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