Tayside and Central Scotland

Ann Gloag 'was in Kenya' on date of New Pyjamas meeting

Scotland's richest woman has told the trial of a charity fundraiser accused of making false expenses claims that she was in Kenya the day they are meant to have met.

Ann Gloag was giving evidence at the trial of Elaine McGonigle, who denies 13 charges relating to her time as director of the New Pyjamas campaign.

Ms McGonigle claimed back £75.15 for a meeting with Mrs Gloag on 23 May 2009.

However, Mrs Gloag said she had flown to Kenya for three weeks from 17 May.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard that the 71-year-old businesswoman and charity campaigner's son broke his neck in the African country on 17 May.

"I know exactly where I was at that particular time," said Mrs Gloag.

"I flew out to Kenya on May 18, I was there for over three weeks because my son was in intensive care."

Expense claims

Ms McGonigle, 50, of Errol, denies 13 charges of claiming £1,855 in expenses for travel and meetings with various prominent people, including former First Minister Jack McConnell, between September 2008 and March 2010.

She was then the director of the New Pyjamas campaign run by the Sick Kids Friends Foundation to raise money for the building of a new Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh.

Mrs Gloag, of Kinfauns Castle, told Sheriff Douglas Allan she vaguely recalled meeting Ms McGonigle as part of a group at a meeting of the Princess Royal Trust for Carers in 2006 or 2007.

However, she said she had never met directly with Ms McGonigle, and said it was "impossible" that she could have been at a meeting on 23 May.

The trial continues.

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