Drug mule admits she may consider plea bargain to reduce Peruvian sentence
Tyrone woman Michaella McCollum-Connolly is desperate to return to Ireland ASAP
The young Tyrone woman is awaiting trial on claims that she attempted to smuggle cocaine worth over $2million out of Lima airport.
She was arrested along with Scottish travelling companion Melissa Reid as they attempted to board a flight back to Spain. Reid has already agreed to plead guilty in order to receive a reduced even year sentence.
Now the 20-year-old McCollum-Connolly has told the Sunday Independent newspaper that she will consider entering a plea bargain to reduce her sentence whilst insisting she is innocent and the victim of a set-up by a brutal drug gang.
Speaking ahead of her trial on Tuesday, she said: “The only thing I want to do is get out of here and return home.”
Reid added: “The most important thing is to get out of here, and if that means pleading guilty, although we still say we were duped, we will do it.”
Peruvian lawyer Meyer Fishman told the paper the two women are unlikely to be sentenced on Tuesday.
The Irish girl also denied she was taking the charges lightly after criticism of her appearance in court before she was remanded to the low-security section of the Virgen de Fatima women’s prison in Chorrillos, south-west Lima.
She said: “I think people misinterpreted my reaction, thinking I was not taking what was happening seriously.
“When I get nervous, I smile and giggle. I can’t help it. It doesn’t mean I don’t take things seriously, because I do.
“The first court appearance caught us completely unawares. Neither we nor our families or lawyers knew the hearing was public until we were actually going into the court room.
“After that hearing, we were told we would be transferred to Santa Monica which is a larger women’s prison in the same district of Lima. It was only when we were in the van that we were told we were going to Fatima.
“My dad was waiting outside the other prison for us and eventually someone told him that we were not going there, we were being taken to Virgin de Fatima.”
McCollum-Connolly also said the two girls are struggling to cope with life in prison.
She said: “We get very excited when we hear we have visitors. It’s a real treat for us.”
“We have Spanish-English dictionaries and we get by using them and by gesturing to have conversations with the rest of the women.”
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