A FUGITIVE Irish woman has spoken out of her escape from her Peru to Worcester, after being jailed for drug smuggling.
Lillian Allen, 49, was jailed in Lima in 2011 for eight years for trying to smuggle 7kg of cocaine out of the South American country.
She was released on parole in 2014 on condition she remained in Peru but claims she paid corrupt airport police to help her make her way to Britain.
“It’s common knowledge among women in the prison that the best way out of the country is to pay corrupt airport police,” she told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme.
Ms Allen’s parole conditions stated that she must sign with police on a monthly basis until the end of her sentence in 2018.
If she failed to meet this criteria, she would be returned to Ancon Dos Prison.
But after spending time working in a spa and paying her monthly fine to police, Ms Allen decided to return to Europe, using an illegal route she heard about in prison.
“There were a lot of people who had gone straight back home as soon as they got out on parole. One of the girls passed me a number and I called it as soon as I got out,” she said.
“I asked for help to get back to England and the man said it would be $600 for the police and $500 for the flight.”
Ms Allen made her way to Lima Airport in 2014 and boarded a flight to Colombia.
She told the BBC about how she met with airport police prior to the flight to ensure her escape went off without a hitch.
“On the morning of the flight I went to the airport and met with the airport police. They took my photo, told me to memorise their faces and told me what desk to go up to.”
When her name was called forward to the desk, they pretended to stamp her passport and let her through.
She then flew to London Heathrow before flying to Birmingham. Ms Allen has been homeless in Worcestershire for a number of months.
The grandmother and mother-of-three said the route she used to escape Peru is well known by female prisoners in Ancon Dos and has been used by up to five British prisoners since her escape.
Ms Allen told the BBC that despite being back in Britain for almost a year, she is still fearful as she is technically a fugitive.
“I still feel like I’m constantly looking over my shoulder,” she said. “It’s ruined my life. It took four years away from my children and my grandchildren.”
Ms Allen was locked up in the same prison as ‘Peru Two’ drug smuggler Michaela McCollum, who remains in the prison.
“I’d sit on the wall with them and have a cigarette. I told them to keep themselves to themselves and not to mix with anyone.”
Peru’s Chief of Immigration, Boris Potozen, from the Superintentedencia Nacional de Migraciones, said in a statement that procedures were in place to try to tackle the problem of corruption in the country’s airport police.
“The Superintentedencia even has an ‘Office of Ethics and Anti-Corruption’ that is devoted to preventing, fighting and investigating cases of corruption,” he said.
“In that respect, we take all allegations of corruption seriously.”
Ms Allen, who protests her innocence for the drug smuggling charges, was featured on this morning’s episode of Victoria Derbyshire.