Irish News

Friday 11 July 2014

Michaella’s fund short of €12k target

Fund was set up to help with legal costs

Luke Byrne

Published 19/12/2013|07:39

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A FUND set up to help with the legal costs for drug mule Michaella McCollum is inching towards €4,765.

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The appeal was established by McCollum's family after the 20-year-old Irishwoman was caught with her friend Melissa Reid (20) trying to smuggle €1.6m worth of cocaine out of Peru.

Online donations have been slowly trickling into the fund which is due to close in six days but it is far short of the €12,000 target set by her family.

Both McCollum and Reid were jailed for six years and eight months by a judge in Peru on Tuesday. As the donations pot hit €4,525 McCollum's mother and sister have vowed that they will get her home.

They have revealed that they are planning a legal bid to allow her to serve her sentence here.

“We will be getting the legal team to try and sort all that out,” her sister Samantha said.

“We will be getting Michaella home as soon as possible.”

Her sister believes that the former Ibiza nightclub hostess is telling the truth and has committed no crime.

“In our opinion Michaella is innocent, in our opinion she will always be innocent,” Samantha told ITV's Daybreak.

“Michaella has never been in trouble before so this is a very big shock to us and we will all support her,” she said.

McCollum's mother Nora described her daughter as an “honest, hardworking girl” and said she was “optimistic” after hearing the length of sentence.

OUTCOME

“It was the best possible outcome they could have got,” she said. “It was the shortest sentence she could have had, so I am happy with it.”

Michaella and Melissa — who is from Glasgow — have formed a close bond and Ms McCollum said that her daughter is coping “really, really well”inside prison.

After the sentencing, the pair indicated their intentions to seek a transfer from Peru. They may yet be free in just over two years for good behaviour.

The girls' lawyer, Meyer Fishman, said he had yet to clarify their eligibility for early release because legislation was enacted after they were arrested in Peru.

“In theory they should qualify for early parole,” he said.

A courts spokesperson revealed after the hearing, which was heard in private, the pair made a transfer request.

“Michaella and Melissa only spoke to say they agreed with the sentence and ask through a translator if they could serve out their sentences in the UK,” they added.

 

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