British mother, Mercedes Farquharson, at court accused of enslaving three girls in US

Date: 2009-09-04

She lived in Marbella in the 90s and moved back there to avoid capture by the FBI

BY ALFREDO BLOY

THE 63-year-old British mother, Mercedes Farquharson, wanted by US police for questioning in connection with charges that she kept three British girls as slaves for 13 years at a Monroe (North Carolina) farm is due back in court for a detention hearing on Thursday Sept 3. She was arrested in Bulgaria in July, extradited to the US and booked into the Mecklenburg County Jail on Friday August 28. She appeared before a magistrate on Monday August 31.

She is accused of beating them, starving them and keeping them from school. Farquharson denies all the accusations. Farquharson allegedly convinced the children she was a god.

Union County Sheriff’s Department lists Mercedes Farquharson on their wanted list, with three counts of involuntary servitude, two counts of child abuse and six counts of ‘simple assault’.

The story of how a 60-year-old British woman ended up at a Monroe farm with three British girls is a strange one. At some point between 1991 and 1995 the following series of events took place. The natural mother of two of the girls, Jasmine and Holly Lloyd had divorced and could not cope so she allegedly ‘gave’ the two girls to Farquharson when they lived in West London. Farquharson later legally adopted a girl called Emma. Farquharson moved to Marbella in 1995 with all the girls shortly after, where she bought a home.

Around 2001 she moved to a farm in Monroe with the girls. In December 2005, social services raided the farm after receiving information from local residents about what was thought to be happening at the farm. Their suspicions seemingly confirmed social services contacted the authorities.

The following day the police tried to arrest her but she had fled to Spain. Social services took custody of Emma, but Jasmine and Holly were being looked after by a local family.

Sheriff's Detective John Young said "The house was nasty. It was like the inside of a barn. This woman was working these girls basically 20 hours a day and wouldn't give them proper nourishment or any kind of schooling."

In April 2006 The Sun reported she was living at her home in Marbella (Spain) with her biological daughter Faith, 35, but her public naming may have led her to leave Spain for fear of arrest. The authorities became aware that she was living in Spain and began extradition proceedings to the US. Presumably to avoid extradition she fled to Bulgaria where the authorities again caught up with her and finally managed to secure her extradition. If convicted, Farquharson faces 20 years in prison.

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