Wednesday 26 April 2017

Drugs mule Michaella McCollum Connolly plans to work as charity volunteer after jail release

Michaella McCollum Connolly, cuffed, arrives at court at Sarita Colonia prison in Callao yesterday. Photo: Reuters
Michaella McCollum Connolly, cuffed, arrives at court at Sarita Colonia prison in Callao yesterday. Photo: Reuters
Michaella McCollum Connolly
Michaella McCollum Connolly in 2013 after her arrest
Michaella McCollum Connolly
Michaella McCollum Connolly
Michaella McCollum Connolly, left, and Melissa Reid are escorted from a prison truck by police at Sarita Colonia prison in Lima, Peru
Cathal McMahon

Cathal McMahon

Drug mule Michaella McCollum Connolly now plans to work as a volunteer with a Lima-based charity after being granted release from a Peru jail.

The 23-year-old model from Dungannon, Co Tyrone has walked free from Ancon 2 prison and Independent.ie has learned that she has already arranged a job and accommodation.

Bishop Sean Walsh, a Lima based priest, said McCollum Connolly will volunteer with a charity in the city.

Fr Walsh said: “She opted for getting out on parole in Peru. The fact is she is blending in better in this culture than the majority of foreign prisoners so she will fit in comfortably to life in the city.

Michaella McCollum Connolly
Michaella McCollum Connolly

“She can work, she can study. She is going to work as volunteer.”

McCollum Connolly has been granted parole to live in the city but under the terms of this arrangement she will be unable to return to Ireland for the foreseeable future.

Read More: Drug mule Michaella McCollum Connolly has been released from prison in Peru

She also owes a sum of money to the prison authorities in Peru. 

Melissa Reid (L) and Michaella McCollum Connolly walk cuffed as they arrive to court at Sarita Colonia prison in Callao, October 1, 2013.
Melissa Reid (L) and Michaella McCollum Connolly walk cuffed as they arrive to court at Sarita Colonia prison in Callao, October 1, 2013.
Michaella McCollum Connolly

Fr Walsh explained that he was in court on Tuesday, March 29 when she was granted parole.

“I did not expect this. This is great news,” he said. “I think the judge was wooed by her age, in my opinion.

“Michaela has been an exemplary prisoner. She learned Spanish. She has shown that she is intelligent, innovative and productive.

“I met with her on the day of her court appearance. She looked great and of course she was a little nervous until the announcement.”

The 23-year-old adapted surprisingly well to life behind bars. She learned Spanish and also did a course in hairdressing.

Fr Walsh said she now wants to use these skills in the “outside world”.

“She is a young lady with a lot of potential. She learned hairdressing. She wants to help with our church magazine. In prison she learned fluent spanish and I’m hoping she can teach English as a second language to my clergy.

“She is obedient and she really and loves to learn.”

Kevin Winters, McCollum’s solicitor, said she was released effectively on parole on Thursday night and was waiting to hear the terms of her release.

“I can confirm Michaella has been released from jail and I’m waiting to hear the outcome of the judicial process,” he told the Press Association.

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