Slave mum on run in Spain

Date: 2006-04-17
Source: thesun.co.uk

THE British mum being hunted by cops for keeping two girls as slaves for 13 years has been traced by The Sun to a luxury bolthole in Spain.

By ROBIN PERRIE

Mercedes Farquharson is wanted by the FBI after the sisters ? who she unofficially adopted ? were discovered living like animals on an American farm

The Sun tracked her down to a £400,000 townhouse in one of the most sought after areas in the millionaires’ resort of Marbella.

The fugitive spends her days strolling around shops, sipping coffee at pavement cafes and going for leisurely drives. But neighbours are disgusted she is allowed to remain at large.

They have contacted cops in the US. And they have printed out an internet news story about Farquharson and put it on the community noticeboard so everyone knows about her.

An international manhunt for Farquharson was launched in December when she vanished after her two adopted daughters Jasmine and Holly Lloyd were found living in disgusting conditions on a North Carolina farm.

She starved them, beat them daily and banned them from having friends. They survived by stealing food from the livestock. Their ordeal had begun when they were aged nine and five and lived in Southall, West London.

Their natural parents had divorced and their mum was struggling to cope so best friend Farquharson began looking after them. The mum then bizarrely “gave” the children to her as a Christmas present although Farquharson never officially adopted them. She moved to Marbella in the mid 1990s and bought a home. She then went to North Carolina around five years ago together with a third girl she adopted as a baby. Social services finally swooped on the farm in December after a tip-off from locals.

The youngest girl was taken into care but Jasmine, 22, and Holly, 18, were too old and now live with a local family.

They told stunned officials of the ordeal they had endured for 13 years. Holly said: “We just didn’t think we could survive because there were times she would say she wished she could kill us. We were beaten every day.”

But the police did not get involved until the day after the raid by social workers and by then Farquharson, 60, had fled.

She moved back to the home in Marbella which she had never sold ? after first kicking out the man she had been renting it to and changing the locks.

Farquharson’s natural daughter Faith, 32, who had been living with her in the US, also moved back to Spain.

But neighbours are shocked. One said: “The things she is alleged to have done are awful, how can she walk the streets?”

When confronted by The Sun Farquharson said: “I totally refute that these girls that I loved were treated like slaves.”

A US police spokesman said she would be arrested but the delay was down to the extradition process. Farquharson added: “I know I will be arrested at some stage. I suppose I will just have to enjoy my time as much as I can until then.”

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