Scottish Borders council has launched an independent inquiry
after an adult woman with learning difficulties was found to have
been held hostage and sexually abused.
The 30-year woman moved into the home of James Mercer and his
girlfriend in the town of Newton St Boswells. A social worker from
the council unsuccessfully tried to gain access to the home on
three separate occasions in December last year, and raised concerns
with his management.
Shortly thereafter it was discovered that the woman had been
kept hostage, repeatedly raped, sexually assaulted with objects,
sodomised, starved and handcuffed naked on the floor.
Mercer and two other men admitted the offences at the high court
in Edinburgh. Scottish Borders council said that the woman, and
none of the others involved had been under the social work
department’s formal supervision.
Jim Nairn, social chairperson for Scottish Borders council,
said: “We know mistakes have been made.” The council announced that
they had commissioned an external, independent inquiry.