'Peru Two' Michaella McCollum Connolly and Melissa Reid could be free 'within months'
Published 17/12/2015 | 18:23
Convicted drug mules Michaella McCollum Connolly and Melissa Reid could return to the UK and Ireland within months.
McCollum, from County Tyrone, and Reid, from Lenzie, near Glasgow, have applied to be expelled from Peru under a scheme to ease prison crowding.
The pair were caught with £1.5 million worth of drugs at Lima airport in 2013 and were later sentence to six years and eight months in jail after pleading guilty to drug smuggling.
If the expulsion is granted it would see the pair, known as the Peru Two, freed immediately and deported back to the UK.
Reid and McCollum were working in Ibiza when they claim they were forced to board a flight with 24lb of cocaine in food packets hidden inside their luggage.
The repatriation of McCollum to Northern Ireland was approved by Stormont's justice minister in January this year but, like Reid, she remains in jail in Lima for now.
The pair had previously been held at Virgen de Fatima prison but were later moved to the Ancon 2 jail, where conditions are said to be cramped, with poor sanitation and toilet facilities.
Earlier this year it emerged that McCollum had become a beauty therapist in a bid to get early parole from her Peruvian jail cell.
Reid's father Billy said recently that the impact of his daughter's crime on his family had been "horrendous".
He said: ''It's horrendous to see your daughter in handcuffs and the living conditions that she has to put up with. Melissa has spent her own 20th and 21st birthdays in prison in Peru.'
'She missed the significant event of her only brother's wedding. Events such as Christmas are non-existent for us. There'll be no celebrations in our house, there'll be no Christmas tree until we get her back home.'
'Mr Reid spoke out in a video warning of the consequences of drug offences abroad.
More than 700 British nationals were arrested for drug-related crimes in 2013-2014, according to the Foreign Office.