FORMER MP Natalie McGarry told a jury today that her life has been ripped apart as a result of the allegations.

McGarry, 41, was visibly upset when prosecutor Alistair Mitchell suggested that she used funds from two organisations advocating for Scottish independence for her own expenses.

McGarry added that she “categorically” denied wrongdoing and that it was went through an invasion of her privacy.

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McGarry, who represented Glasgow East for the SNP, allegedly stole more than 25,000 between April 2013 and August 2015.

McGarry is said to have embezzled £21,000 while treasurer for Women for Independence (WFI) between April 26, 2013 and November 30, 2015.

A second charge states McGarry took £4,661 between April 9, 2014 and August 10, 2015 when she was Treasurer, Secretary and Convenor of Glasgow Regional Association (GRA) of the SNP.

McGarry - of Clarkston, East Renfrewshire - denies the two charges at Glasgow Sheriff Court.

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Mr Mitchell stated to McGarry at the end of his cross-examination: “I say in relation to WFI you took funds from the account and used it for your own use and embezzled these funds?

“I categorically 100% deny that and wouldn’t have come here with all the trauma it caused, invasion of my privacy if I didn’t think I did anything wrong.

“It’s been the most hellish experience I can possibly imagine.

“Having my whole life ripped apart when I hadn’t done anything wrong.”

Mr Mitchell: “In the GRA I suggest you used cheques for your own expenses?”

McGarry: “The only thing I put my hand up to is a mistake I thought I paid what was due to a company run by family friends and I didn’t.

“It was an omission, not deliberate, that’s the only thing that I did wrong - it was during a time I was organising campaigns in the best way I possibly could.”

Mr Mitchell earlier quizzed McGarry about a cheque she made to herself from the GRA for £2,000 to pay for media training.

McGarry claimed that she forgot to pay for the training as she was not given a reminder.

McGarry had given evidence that the corresponding cheque stub which stated “Shettleston SNP £250” was one of four cheques for £250 given to Glasgow branches by the GRA fighting by-elections.

But, Mr Mitchell then showed four separate further stubs of £250 with the names of Glasgow wards on them.

He said: “These are the £250 you are talking about in cheques?”

McGarry replied that she was “not sure” but recalled campaigning in a ward in Glasgow with Shetteston SNP at the time.

She added that a £2,000 cheque for the media training would not be a “surprise” to the GRA.

Mr Mitchell led McGarry on to her bank statement where it appeared to show that she spent cash on B and Q, Specsavers and Sky Digital after the £2,000 entered her account.

McGarry’s balance appeared to be around £1,000 at the time.

Mr Mitchell asked: “You must have known you were spending £2,000?”

McGarry replied that she would still have been able to pay for the media training, if asked, as she was still receiving funds from family at the time.

McGarry claimed that she was unaware the cash had entered her account as there was thousands going through her bank from parliamentary expenses body IPSA.

Mr Mitchell also asked about a £600 payment IPSA made personally to McGarry for a survey of her constituency office by a consultancy firm.

Jurors earlier heard evidence that McGarry paid the cash to the consultancy firm from the GRA account.

Mr Mitchell led McGarry to an alleged WhatsApp conversation she had with her office manager Rachel Mackie.

McGarry appeared to say she paid the consultancy firm what they were owed on two separate occasions.

McGarry disputed the accuracy of the conversions as they had come from the Miss Mackie and that WhatsApp can be “manipulated.”

Former presiding officer Tricia Marwick, 68, told jurors that she gave niece McGarry between £3-5,000 in cash between April 2013 and November 2015.

Allan MacLeod, defending, asked if the money was given for a particular purpose.

Miss Marwick replied: "It was to be spent on herself and household bills if she had any.
"I remember starting out as a young woman in politics and had no income and I know how difficult it is to take money out from the household income and I did my best to help her out."

She was then asked by Mr MacLeod to describe her niece.

Miss Marwick said: "If you ask what kind of person she is, I would say committed, energetic, bubbly, honest, absolutely committed to what she believes in and puts herself in to it 100%."

The trial continues tomorrow before sheriff Tom Hughes.