Scotland’s richest woman and charity campaigner, Ann Gloag, has told a court that she never met with Elaine McGonigle, the fund-raising campaign director of the charity, “New Pyjamas”, on May 23, 2009.
Mrs Gloag of Kinfauns Castle, Perth, was giving evidence in the trial of McGonigle at Edinburgh Sheriff Court today.
McGonigle, 50, of Errol in Perthshire has denied 13 charges of fraudulently claiming £1855 in expenses for travel and meetings with various prominent people, between September 22, 2008, and March 5, 2010. “New Pyjamas” was part of a campaign by the Sick Kids Friends Foundation to raise funds towards the building of a new Royal Hospital for Sick Children in the city.
McGonigle claimed expenses of £75.15 for mileage and food for attending a meeting with Mrs Gloag on May 23, 2009.
The 71-year old businesswoman told Fiscal Depute, Pauline Shade, that she vaguely remembered seeing McGonigle at a meeting of the Princess Royal Trust for Carers, of which she (Gloag) was a trustee, in 2006 or 2007. McGonigle, she said, was part of a team. Ms Shade asked if she had ever met directly with McGonigle. “No” she replied.
Mrs Gloag agreed that she had been questioned over the phone by a police officer in June 2011 in connection with investigations involving the “New Pyjamas” Campaign. The Fiscal asked: “Were you giving him truthful answers?” “Of course. Why not?” was her reply.
Ms Shade questioned if the officer had asked her about particular dates regarding Elaine McGonigle. “Yes” said Mrs Gloag, “If I had met with Elaine McGonigle on May 23, 2009”. She told Sheriff Douglas Allan: “My son broke his neck in Kenya on May 17 and I flew out to Kenya on May 18. I was there for over three weeks because my son was in intensive care. I absolutely know where I was at that particular time”.
The Fiscal asked: “If it was suggested that on May 23, you had a meeting with Elaine McGonigle, what would you say?”. “Impossible” replied Mrs Gloag. “You were out of the country on May 23?” said the Fiscal. “Absolutely” was the response.
The trial continues.