Drug mule Melissa Reid has released her prison diaries detailing the anxiety she is experiencing as her sentencing approaches as hopes of lenient sentences fade despite guilty plea.
Tyrone native McCollum Connolly and Scottish born Reid, both 20, were arrested at Lima airport when cocaine was discovered hidden inside packages of food in their luggage as they prepared to fly to Madrid and then on to Majorca.
The Peru Two agreed to plead guilty to smuggling 1.5 million pounds worth of cocaine in the hope their term would be reduced to six years and eight months.
But with sentencing due to take place in a closed court in Lima on Tuesday, the girls’ lawyers have so far been unable to agree a plea bargain with prosecutors
Melissa writes: ‘I have prepared myself for the worst . . . I think of how I will be in 15 years . . . and yes it does still scare me.
‘I would really like to have this over with by Christmas because the fear of the unknown makes me more anxious. I’ve been waiting four months already and the delays and changes are annoying. *
The diary displays Melissa’s fears about being transferred after sentencing to the prison Ancon 2. It is miles from Lima, making it much harder for her family to see her.
She is also terrified that she will be separated from Michaella, with whom she has shared a cell since their arrest.
She added: ‘I am constantly aware of my immediate transfer to Ancon after my sentence and would much rather stay in [Virgen de] Fatima for the Christmas period because of the fear of the unknown in Ancon.
‘[It is] really far from Lima making visiting much more difficult for my family when they come and it’s over populated so I could possibly be separated from Michaella. (That’s something I have not prepared myself for).’
According to the extracts published, Melissa also claims her human rights have been abused. She says she and Michaella, from Dungannon, Northern Ireland, were kept in unbearable heat in the back of a prison van for a day without food, water, or use of a toilet.
Last night Melissa’s family were praying for their daughter to receive the minimum sentence at Tuesday's sentencing. Melissa’s father Billy said: ‘This is a really tense time for us – we’ve been told sentencing is going ahead on Tuesday. Melissa has done everything she can, we just have to hope and pray for the best now.’
The Mail reported sentencing has already been delayed twice as Peruvian judges strike for higher pay.Although it has been set for Tuesday, a last-minute delay is still possible.
If the girls are given seven years or less they are eligible to apply for transfer to the UK, though this must be agreed by both governments.
The girls will also be required to pay a civil fine before release, likely to be several thousand pounds each.
On Tuesday, a day Melissa described as ‘one of the worst yet’, the women were driven to a court for sentencing – even though their lawyers had already told them that it would be postponed.
She wrote: ‘I was marched to court for nothing. I was transported all day from Fatima to Sarita Colonia [prison] then to other places. I kept wondering what was taking so long but I guess I will never know. Finally I was brought back to Fatima.’
Raise a glass to Robert Emmet, the Irish rebel leader executed on this day in 1803