Disabled woman horrified after Scottish prisoner given her details in data breach

A disabled woman was horrified after learning her name, address and social work records were mistakenly sent to an inmate at a notorious Scottish prison.

The prisoner at HMP Barlinnie had been posted Mary McGoldrick's intimate social work records and personal data by city council staff before writing to Mary informing her of the breach.

As revealed by our sister title The Sunday Mail, the prisoner was sent Mary's files along with his own. Luckily for Mary, the prisoner wrote to her saying it was "the right thing to do" after informing her of the "severe data breach" and informed her that they were serving time at the Glasgow jail.

READ MORE: Disabled author made East Lothian pensioner's life 'living hell' during 'hate campaign'

READ MORE: West Lothian car garage targeted in 'wilful' blaze as several vehicles torched

"I feel sorry for the issue you're facing but I hope that with this letter you'll be able to hold social work services to account once and for all," they wrote.

"Your information should not be landing in the hands of a prisoner, especially of no relations to yourself. Please feel calmed in the fact that it landed in my hands and not those of some of the many unkind others that exist in here."

Moira Heafey, Mary's friend and carer who lives with her in Glasgow, told the Sunday Mail: "We don't know who this prisoner is or what they are in jail for. They could be anybody.

"We can't believe that private information has been sent to someone in prison instead of us. How can that even happen?

"This person now has our address, they could show up pretending to be a social worker now that they have our details and do God knows what. How would we know the difference?"

Mary, 51, and Moira, 54, complained to Glasgow City Council, which confessed it had sent her details to the prisoner.

In an apology letter, an official wrote: "This occurred due to a staff member within our service unintentionally placing a letter intended for your in an envelope alongside another letter intended for and addressed to another person.

"During the discussions, the staff member was regretful and expressed their full apologies.

"As such, I would like to take this opportunity to pass on their apologies to you as well as apologise on behalf of the council for this incident and for the evident distress and concern this has caused."

Mary and Moira, who suffer from physical and mental health conditions, are now considering moving house.

Moira said: "We are scared to stay here now because of this letter and because we were made aware of a recent break-in attempt a few doors down.

Join Edinburgh Live's Whatsapp Community here and get the latest news sent straight to your messages.

"We never found out the first name (of the prisoner) because the police and prison service said the case was closed but Mary's paranoid still and the social work are not saying much more about it.

"It's their mistake that makes Mary panic every time a letter comes in. This is another reason for relocating but it's difficult when we don't have backing from no one."

Mary asked not be photographed.

Glasgow City Council said: "We have apologised to both service users and notified the Information Commissioner about the incident and await a response."

Sign up for Edinburgh Live newsletters for more headlines straight to your inbox

Moira also emailed the Scottish Prison Service to complain about the letter and in an response an official confirmed it had come from a prisoner at Barlinnie.

An SPS spokesman told the Sunday Mail: "We cannot discuss the specific circumstances of an individual. We have policies in place to safeguard the personal information of people in our care and any third party."

Police Scotland also looked at the matter by found that the letter Mary received wasn't threatening.