Prosecutors are studying new CCTV footage to establish if it shows Irish model, Michaella McCollum Connolly, from Dungannon, County Tyrone, carrying 11kg of cocaine to her hotel in Peru.
Connolly (20) is being held with Melissa Reid (20), from Glasgow. They are accused of smuggling 11 kilos of cocaine.
The women insist they were kidnapped from Ibiza and forced to smuggle the drugs by the dealers who threatened them with guns. Connolly says a dealer allegedly forced her to smuggle the drugs to pay off a $5,338 debt.
They face up to 20-years in some of the toughest prisons in the world if they are convicted.
The new footage shows what looks like Connolly carrying a bag back to the three-star Colonial San Agustin hotel, at midday, on August 5. This would fit in with what Reid told the police, that they were forced to collect the drugs.
Connolly’s brother, Keith, and her solicitor Peter Madden arrived at the Police HQ where the Belfast woman is being held.
Speaking outside the HQ Madden said Connolly “was in fact kidnapped and forced by threat to obtain and carry drugs.
“She was not offered any money. She was threatened and held.”
He continued, “She was put through an ordeal, as was the other young girl, Melissa.
“They were both taken advantage of by a gang of up to 14 men with guns. She was under severe pressure.” Asked if he thought she could avoid jail, he said: “It depends very much on the attitude of the prosecuting authorities here as to whether they are going to do this fairly.
“Michaella is in a position where she has to prove her innocence.”
However police in Ibiza who have been looking into the girls’ behaviour on the island say they do not believe the girls were forced into the crime.
Sergeant Alberto Arian Barilla said, “I don’t think these two girls were forced to do this because, particularly when you go to South America, you need to pass several controls. The first thing you do is go to the passport control and say, ‘Listen, this is what is happening to me’. The policeman will react so I don’t think they were forced.”
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