Peruvian prosecutors have rejected the guilty pleas of alleged drug mules Michaella McCollum Connolly and Melissa Reid.
Connolly, 20, from Dungannon, County Tyrone, and Reid, 20, from Glasgow, pleaded guilty when they appeared before a judge in the port town of Callao, near the capital Lima on Tuesday.
But Peruvian prosecutors have requested more information before accepting their admissions of guilt. It's understood the two women made their guilty pleas in the hope it will bring their sentence down to six years and eight months in prison.
A spokesman for the prosecutors' office in Callao told the press: 'The two drug mules' guilty pleas have not been fully accepted, as far as the prosecutor is concerned, until they give more details.
'As far as the prosecution is concerned, these citizens were never kidnapped, were never threatened or coerced. If they stick to that unbelievable story the prosecution is not going to allow them the benefit of a guilty plea.
'They will be asked to give another statement before the judge explaining where the drugs came from, who supplied them and why they said they had been forced to carry them by an armed gang.'
According to RTE a spokesman for the prosecutors said a date for a new hearing is being decided, although following their guilty pleas court officials said the women would be sentenced on 1 October.
But Juan Mendoza Abarca, the head of the anti-drug state prosecution unit which is prosecuting the women, said that court date is now in doubt.
'What the girls have said so far is not enough. We want to get to the men behind them and we want more information off them to do that,' he said.
'All these girls have said is, 'We’re guilty' and very little else. They’ve given a four-line statement to the court which doesn’t help us track down the gang that sent them to Peru in the first place.'
When they were first arrested McCollum and Reid had originally claimed they were forced at gun point to board a flight from Lima to Spain with the cocaine in food packets hidden inside their luggage.
But now by pleading guilty the pair hope to reduce the minimum sentence of eight years by a sixth, down to six years and eight months without the possibility of parole.
Meanwhile Michaella McCollum Connolly’s Northern Irish lawyer will reportedly travel to Peru next week for her sentencing.
Peter Madden said she was ready to take responsibility for having the drugs in her possession.
Madden added it had been a tough decision for her to make as she was still maintaining she was forced to carry the drugs by a Colombian gang who kidnapped the pair at gunpoint and who threatened to kill their families.
But it is not known what either McCollum or Reid said during the 30-minute behind-closed-doors hearing before a judge on Tuesday.
Reid’s family has previously said they are working with the British Foreign Office in the hope that the Peruvian authorities will allow her to serve part of her sentence in the UK.
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