Former MP Natalie McGarry jailed over £25,600 embezzlement
6 June 2019, 11:36 | Updated: 6 June 2019, 12:10
A former SNP MP who embezzled thousands of pounds from pro-independence groups has been jailed.
Natalie McGarry, 37, spent the money - more than £25,600 - on rent, a holiday to Spain with her husband, transfers of money to him, and other lifestyle spending, Glasgow Sheriff Court was told.
McGarry pleaded guilty to two charges of embezzlement when she appeared at the court on April 24.
Her attempt to withdraw the guilty pleas at a later hearing was refused by Sheriff Paul Crozier.
On Thursday, she was jailed by the sheriff for 18 months.
Allan Macleod, representing McGarry, said she continues to maintain she is innocent of the charges.
He said she has had mental health issues over the years, including depression and anxiety and also suffered from post-partum depression following the birth of her daughter in November 2017.
McGarry sobbed in the dock as her lawyer told the court that earlier this week she suffered a "devastating" miscarriage while six weeks pregnant.
Mr Macleod said: "She describes her life as almost intolerable.
"Two weeks ago she considered that life could not get any worse, and then it did.
"She was pregnant and miscarried, that happened on Sunday and that is something that for her has been absolutely devastating.
"She is at the lowest point in her life she has ever been. Her career is ruined, her reputation is in tatters, she has lost friends, colleagues, her reputation and job, and now her child."
Jennifer Harrower, Procurator Fiscal for Specialist Casework, said:
“Natalie McGarry took advantage of being in a position of trust and responsibility within the community to embezzle cash for her own gain. Her deception led to a significant sum being diverted from charity into her own bank account.
“We take such criminality very seriously and will not stop at prosecution. Proceeds of Crime proceedings have now been commenced to ensure profits obtained through criminal conduct are confiscated from those who do not deserve them.”
Mr Macleod said the family's finances are in a "perilous" state and McGarry's main concern is for her daughter, who is 18 months old. He said her husband has two jobs, one at unsociable hours, to support them.
McGarry was elected as an SNP member in 2015 but resigned the party whip following the emergence of fraud allegations - which she denied at the time - continuing in Parliament as an independent.
She was charged by police in 2017 over fraud relating to potential missing funds from Women for Independence, which was set up in the run-up to the 2014 Scottish referendum, and the SNP's Glasgow Regional Association.
McGarry, who represented Glasgow East, did not seek re-election in 2017.