Briton denies 'child slaves' charges
A British woman has pleaded not guilty to keeping three children as slaves in her US home.
Mercedes Farquharson, 63, was arrested in Bulgaria in July, having allegedly been on the run for three years after being indicted over claims that she made the young women work up to 20 hours a day in harsh conditions.
At a federal court in North Carolina yesterday, Farquharson was ordered to remain behind bars until her trial after entering an initial plea of not guilty, a clerk of the court said.
Prosecutors say she kept the girls in isolation at her North Carolina address and would not let them go to school or have friends. The young women were forced to perform physical labour in harsh conditions, it is alleged.
One of the girls is Farquharson's adopted daughter. The other two were taken from Southall, west London, in the 1990s while their real mother was having problems with a difficult marriage.
It is alleged that that from ages as young as seven, they were put to work, sometimes being forced to labour up to 20 hours a day or face being beaten.
They were also made to clear up after dozens of animals including chickens, dogs and sheep, it is alleged.
Authorities rescued the girls in late 2005, at the ages of 15, 18 and 22. It followed complaints from neighbours of suspicious activity at the property in Monroe, North Carolina.
In 2006, Farquharson was charged with two counts of felony child abuse and three felony counts of involuntary servitude. But by this time she had disappeared, having left her home a day after investigators had taken her 15-year-old adopted daughter away.
Investigators initially thought she had fled to Spain. But she was located in Bulgaria earlier this year and extradited to the US to face charges.
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...
£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...
£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...