Jailed Michaella McCollum has admitted she was a drug user in Ibiza before she was caught trying to smuggle millions of dollars worth of cocaine out of Peru.
The young Northern Ireland woman has admitted in newspaper interviews that she took drugs in Spain, but is adamant she was forced into smuggling by a Colombian gang.
She has also revealed that her mother was hospitalized with stress after she heard of her daughter’s incarceration.
And she has pleaded to be allowed serve her sentence back home in Ulster.
The 20-year-old insisted she is not a ‘coke head,’ but said drug use is part of everyday life for young people on the island of Ibiza where she worked in bars.
McCollum said: “Everyone does it, I don’t think I know anyone out there that didn’t.
“It was normal to go straight from work to a party with people you maybe didn’t even know because most of the people out there, like me, came over by themselves to work.
“Now I look back and think, ‘how stupid was I?’”
The young woman claimed it was at a house party where she met the Londoner who was the middle man in a drug plot run by a Colombian gang.
Along with Scottish woman Melissa Reid, McCollum was arrested at Lima’s international airport as they attempted to board a flight to Spain with 11kg of cocaine.
They were sentenced to six years and eight months in jail last December for attempting to smuggle the drugs – worth almost $3million – out of Peru.
McCollum claims she was threatened by the drugs gang inSpain and told her family would suffer if she didn’t go along with the attempt to smuggle the drugs.
She added, “It’s easy for everyone to say you should have told someone, but if we had rang the police in that hotel and said, ‘Oh hello, we have drugs here and we were forced to carry them,’ they would have just came to the hotel and arrested us. We were too scared.
“Looking back now I wish I had, but it’s easy to look back and think that.
“I know we were used. I don’t know if there was a bigger load coming in or something else, I just know we were used.”
McCollum has also admitted that her mother nearly died when she told her she was banged up in prison in Peru.
The Irish Sun reports that the 20-year-old nightclub hostess had been declared missing before she called her family home.
She said: “I remember ringing my house that first time and my mummy answering.
“As soon as she heard my voice she screamed, ‘Michaella! My baby! I thought you were dead’. She started crying. Then I said, ‘Mummy, I’m in jail. In Peru’.
“The phone went silent. I found out after we’d spoken she had chest pains and was taken to hospital. I nearly killed her with the stress.”
Born in County Tyrone, McCollum is now an inmate at the Virgen De Fatima Prison where she and Reid share their cell with as many as 100 women.
She said: “I would rather spend 90 years in a prison back home than spend another day here. At least you could have a TV and proper food.
“There’s one toilet for 100 women here that you are only allowed to use at certain times.
“Even if you are busting to go, you can’t. I’ve had loads of stomach bugs in here so you can imagine what it was like for me then.
“One time the toilet didn’t flush for two weeks, the smell was awful.”
Michaella has tried her hand at knitting and said, “I knitted a wee outfit for my niece Ava. I was supposed to be her godmother. My brother sent me a picture of her wearing it, she is so cute.”