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Elgin mum who helped bring son’s rapist, John Jessiman Barclay, to justice says trust in humanity has been broken

By Ewan Malcolm

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AN Elgin mum who helped bring her son’s rapist to justice says her trust in humanity has been broken.

John Jessiman Barclay (63) was jailed for seven years and two months at the High Court in Edinburgh last month.
John Jessiman Barclay (63) was jailed for seven years and two months at the High Court in Edinburgh last month.

John Jessiman Barclay (63), a former Keith shop owner and ex social care worker with Moray Council, was jailed for seven years and two months at the High Court in Edinburgh on April 29 after he pled guilty to sexual offence charges relating to three young men.

That included raping a man with a mental disorder.

The man, who was in his 20s at the time, was born with frontal lobe brain damage. He also has hearing loss , ADHD and learning difficulties which make living independently impossible.

His mum, speaking anonymously with The Northern Scot, says that Barclay’s actions have devastated her family and left her wondering if she can ever trust anyone again.

“I feel like he groomed me as well because I trusted him,” she said.

“My head has just been all over the place. It’s been devastating.

“My son is so wary of speaking to other people now.

“He’s not been sleeping. He’s had to get more medication to help him sleep. It’s changed him.

“Even though he is my first born and he’s in his 30s now, he’s always going to need mum.

“He’s a grown man but in his head he isn’t a grown man.”

Barclay owned and managed the now-shut Aladdin’s Cave shop in Keith which stocked a variety of handmade gifts.

He was involved in various disability groups in the region and volunteered in the community.

He was also previously employed by Moray Council as a social care worker and a community care officer.

But a council spokesperson confirmed that Barclay’s employment with the local authority ended in 2010.

They said: “Moray Council can confirm that the individual concerned has not been employed by the council since 2010."

It was his background, however, that led many to believe that he was a “good Samaritan” who could be trusted.

“He was opening his shop in Keith and we met him through mutual friends,” his victim’s heartbroken mum said.

“He was involved in disability groups and so is my son and he asked if my son would like to help him out with the shop.

“My son was keen and so was I because it would get him out and about and things like that.”

Barclay, unknown to the vulnerable man’s mum, began sending indecent messages between January 2019 and April 2021.

And, according to court documents, between January 2019 and March 2020, Barclay, while acting with another male, sexually assaulted the young man by telling him to remove his clothing, touching him, watching him with the other man before raping him orally “to his injury”.

The abuse may have continued if it wasn’t for the man’s mum.

“He had been asked to help out at the shop again and I thought that was fine,” she said.

“Before he left there was this Tesco carrier bag and I said to him to give it to me because he didn’t need it and he sort of flipped a little bit.

“I asked what’s going on? What’s in the bag?

“There was a condom in the bag. I asked to see his phone at that point and I had a look through the phone and there were disgusting messages from that man to him.

“He was asking him to go and have sex and to have sex with somebody in the shop, asking my son if he had washed himself.

“It absolutely flipped our lives upside down.

“I got in touch with the police but my son was terrified that he was going to go to prison. I had to keep telling him that it wasn’t his fault.

“If I hadn’t found it that day, then it would have carried on because he would have gone away to the shop again that day.”

The man’s mum had to source three separate doctor’s reports to prove that he did not have the mental capacity to give consent.

And after years of waiting for justice, Barclay was sentenced to over seven years in prison, backdated from February 2024, last month.

“We have waited for years for this,” Barclay’s victim’s mum, who went to his trial in person, added.

“I wouldn’t wish this on any family. I’ve had to keep the family calm and away so that the justice system can do its work so this is a relief.

“He thought that person was his friend but they were doing the most horrific things to him. That’s what sickens me.

“I’m just glad that he is locked up but I’ll never trust anybody again.”

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