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A Highlands community has been rocked by a passionate affair between a mum-of-four and her schoolboy son's best friend.

It has devastated both families and deeply upset the devoutly religious parents of her 16- year-old lover.

Attractive, dark-haired Mandy Thomas, 33, fell for her son Philip's close pal John MacKenzie.

Philip, 17, is so upset and shamed by the revelations which have scandalised the families' friends and neighbours that he has left his Inverness home and quit school.

He is too scared to go back and face the taunts and smutty jokes of the playground.

And he is no longer talking to John, who fell for Mandy Thomas when he used to go there with a bunch of friends to change before a game of football or a night out.

Ironically, Philip and the unsuspecting chums used to joke around and rib John that he would never get a girlfriend.

Mandy's estranged husband, Ian, an ex-Scots Guardsman and former special constable in Inverness, is furious.

Now an offshore welder in the South China Seas, he said: "It's sick. I am disgusted. Now I have to look out for my family - especially Philip, who is emotionally scarred by it all."

Mum Mandy fell in love with John during his frequent visits to the Thomas family home in Esk Road, Hilton, Inverness.

They were like any bunch of teenage boys, watching TV, listening to music and getting the odd Chinese take-away.

Sometimes John and the others would stay over.

"That's how it all began. It was going on behind Philip's back," said a close pal of both boys last week.

Word leaked out after John confided in pals at Millburn Academy. Philip was the last to know but word soon reached him and left him red-faced and in shock.

The pal added: "He left home right away and he cannot face going back to school now. Philip and John were the best of friends. They went everywhere together. This has been a terrible shock for Philip.

"It is strange, really, because in their little group they used to joke that John was the only one who could not get a girl. But he put that right in spectacular fashion."

John, the middle one of three children in the ultra-religious Free Church of Scotland MacKenzie family from Mason Road, is back at school studying for his Highers.

His dad, Donald, who works in the oil industry, had a heart to heart talk with him last week and says the relationship which brought so much pain is now finished.

He said: "I sorted it out by just talking to him and verbally knocking some sense into him."

He said he had not spoken to Mandy Thomas about the affair, and added: "I am not going anywhere near that woman."

John's mum, Mary, said she had been to see a doctor because of stress. She said: "I am mortified. This is terrible. We are in the Free Church. John was led astray by Mrs Thomas. You know what boys of that age are like, but it is all over now."

John said: "Who told you? It is nobody's business but mine.

"This kind of thing happens all the time. You read about it in the papers almost every day. It is finished."

But Mandy Thomas claims talk of an affair is "a load of rubbish".

"I am denying I had an affair with John MacKenzie. I do not know where this has come from," she said.

She says she thinks it's just a rumour from by boys at the school.

Graham Spence, headmaster at Millburn Academy, has declined to comment as Philip struggles to restart life after the bombshell news that shattered two families.
COPYRIGHT 1997 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 14, 1997
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