A fund set up to pay the legal costs of alleged Peru drug mule Michaella McCollum Connolly has raised just a thousand dollars.

The Tyrone woman is currently awaiting trial in Lima on drug trafficking charges.

Her family have told the Irish Independent that they are ‘trying desperately to get her home’ and have pleaded for financial support from the public.

But the appeal fund, established by her sister Stephanie, has attracted just $1000 so far, well below the $40,000 needed.

Launching the fund, Stephanie said the family are facing a massive legal bill and are in need of financial support.

She said: “Michaella, as you all know, is in a prison in Peru. We as a family are trying desperately to get her home.

“Since this living nightmare began we have been overwhelmed with the support and kind words from people.

“Some of these people are friends and people we know, and others are from kind strangers.

“As I’m sure you all understand, to get Michaella home it may be a lengthy process by it all depends on her legal representation.

“We plan to visit Michaella as much as we can. So many of our supporters have asked us if they can donate to Michaella’s plight. We appreciate this so much as legal fees, etc, will be expensive.

“We would just like to thank you all for your support and donation for our fight to get our Michaella home where she belongs.”

The 20-year-old is currently being detained in the notorious Virgen de Fatima Women’s prison in the Peruvian capital Lima.

She is awaiting trial along with her co-accused, Melissa Reid (20) from Glasgow.

They are accused of trying to smuggle 11kg of cocaine, worth over $2.5million, out of Peru last month.

The girls told police that they were forced to carry the drugs by an armed gang after they were kidnapped on the Spanish island of Ibiza.

Melissa Reid’s father William has now called on the British and Spanish authorities to intervene in the case.

He said: “The Peru element of the story I can follow and understand. It’s the Ibiza end that I would like more clarification on.

“I’m still not entirely sure how she left Ibiza to go to wherever it was – Madrid or Majorca and then on – so I would like more help from the Spanish authorities and in fact the British police.

“The current prison conditions are OK and not as bad as we were led to believe prior to going over to Peru, so that was a worthwhile visit for that reason alone, to get some comfort that they have a bed and some space.”