‘Madam Moneybags’ wants police to hand back designer shoes and bags

Margaret Paterson. Picture: Julie Bull
Margaret Paterson. Picture: Julie Bull

A BROTHEL-keeper facing a £1 million confiscation order has told a court she wants to know what happened to her collection of designer shoes and handbags.

Margaret Paterson, 63, was convicted of brothel-keeping, money laundering and living off the earnings of prostitution and jailed for five years in 2013.

Police raided her business and brothel premises in Grosvenor Street in September 2011, and found 100 boxes of unused designer shoes and some 400 designer handbags in a pile seven feet high.

They also found evidence of a spending spree in some of the capital’s most exclusive shops and £204,000 in cash.

The discoveries led to Paterson being dubbed “Madam Moneybags”.

Last week, she appeared at Stirling Sheriff Court to face allegations that she had not yet complied with a ‘Proceeds of Crime’ ruling to hand over £1 million within six months.

He solicitor Stephen Dryden agreed the order had not been satisfied but said the delays were not her fault.

He said the £204,0000 seized in cash was still in the hands of police, and bank accounts in his client’s name containing about £200,000 had been frozen so she was unable to access the money, or the interest it had earned, to hand it over.

He added that Paterson had been diagnosed with breast cancer while serving her sentence and underwent a mastectomy.

He said: “Since then she has undergone chemotherapy and radiotherapy which has had an impact on her ability to deal with her affairs.”

Depute fiscal Ann Orr asked for the case to be continued for three months to allow the Crown to appoint an administrator to wind up Miss Paterson’s affairs.

The court was told these were “a number of properties” in Edinburgh, including 10B Grosvenor Street, where her business was based.

Speaking from the dock, Paterson said she wanted to know what had happened to the shoes and designer bags seized by police, which could also be sold.

She added: “There’s also a whole lot of my mother’s jewellery.”

She told Stirling Sheriff Wyllie Robertson that her conviction was unfair.

She said: “The police watched me for eight weeks without seeing a single customer but because I have large amounts of money I’m guilty. I had the cash because I’m a hoarder.”

Sheriff Robertson told Paterson: “I can’t revisit either the conviction or the confiscation order that has been made.”

He continued the case until September 21. He asked why the case was being heard in Stirling Sheriff Court, rather than Edinburgh, and was told this was “not entirely clear”. It is thought to relate to the fact that Paterson was a prisoner in Stirling’s Cornton Vale prison.