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Monday 23 October 2017

Michaella's family reveal drugs horror

Michaella McCollum Connolly arrives at court at Sarita Colonia prison in Callao. Photo: Reuters
Michaella McCollum Connolly arrives at court at Sarita Colonia prison in Callao. Photo: Reuters

MICHAELLA McCOLLUM'S mother has told how she never wanted her daughter to go to Ibiza and was convinced she was dead when she vanished to smuggle drugs in Peru.

A new RTE documentary is set to detail how the 20-year-old and fellow drugs mule Melissa Reid willingly agreed to smuggle a suitcase full of cocaine out of Peru to Spain.

The pair hit headlines around the world when they were caught with 11 kg of cocaine in Lima International Airport last summer. They were later sentenced to six years and eight months in prison when they finally came clean to police about their role.

The documentary follows her mother Norah and her sister Samantha on their first emotional 6,000 mile trip to Peru to visit Michaella, who is the youngest of a family of 10.

Her mother said Michaella, who grew up with five over-protective brothers, was determined to go to Ibiza for a summer of adventure but she was reluctant to see her go.

"She was just that bit special, the baby.

"Early last year she talked about going to Ibiza to work during the holiday but I wasn't really happy about it. None of us wanted her to go."

Her sister Samantha said her baby sister seemed to be having the time of her life. but the documentary detailed how she appeared to have only had one night's work during her five weeks on the island.

"Every time I spoke to her on the phone she was loving life. She was having an absolute ball", said her sister.

She said then her sister just "literally vanished" for over a week at the end of last July leaving her worried family frantic about her safety.

Her mother said she was initially so relieved to hear from her daughter when she finally phoned from Peru to tell her she was in jail. "It was a relief to hear her voice at the start because we thought she was dead", she said.

"I never thought in a 1,000 years that I would even know someone like this, never mind me own child."

Michaella, Peru & The Drugs Run is being broadcast on RTE One on Monday, July 7 at 9.35pm.

hnews@herald.ie

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