McGarry's remarkable fall from rising star of the independence movement

Former SNP MP abused trust placed in her by stealing campaign funds to pay for rent, loans and shopping.

Former SNP MP Natalie McGarry’s remarkable fall from rising star of the independence movement
Natalie McGarry has been found guilty on two charges of embezzlement.

Natalie McGarry maintained she had done nothing wrong throughout her trial. 

She told the court she was overwhelmed with her workload, particularly after being elected an SNP MP in 2015. 

But far from being disorganised and chaotic, the prosecution painted a picture of someone who calculated her every move to embezzle funds for her own use. 

The campaign group Women for Independence was formed in the run up to the 2014 Scottish independence referendum. It was an organisation built on trust among its founding members. 

McGarry abused the trust placed in her – not only by friends and colleagues but also her constituents, continuing to steal money as an MP to pay for rent, loans and shopping. 

While giving evidence, McGarry broke down as she said the trial had been the most hellish experience she could have imagined and had ripped her life apart. 

She claimed all she was trying to do was help run the organisation and have the best campaign she could have. But the jury did not believe her. 

For six weeks they have sat in a cinema listening to often complex evidence being relayed to them from the court. They were shown spreadsheets, bank statements, as well as other documents detailing money coming and going from different accounts. 

Having reported her to police when suspicions arose over missing funds, her former colleagues at Women for Independence are now relieved the whole episode is over. 

For them, this has been a difficult and distressing time, but they feel they had no choice and did the right thing, particularly for those who placed trust in them by donating their money. 

It is seven years since the allegations were first made against McGarry. 

Now a court has determined her guilt and she will learn her punishment next month. The sheriff has warned her these are very serious matters.

It caps a remarkable fall for someone once regarded as a rising star within the SNP and the wider independence movement.