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Peru drug suspect set ‘to plead guilty’

Michaella McCollum Connolly, left, and Melissa Reid were arrested in Peru last month

MELISSA Reid, the young Glaswegian charged with trying to smuggle £1.5 million worth of cocaine out of Peru – along with Irish girl Michaella McCollum Connolly  will plead guilty in order to get a reduced sentence.

Reid gave an interview at the weekend outlining her plan, saying she did not want to be held in jail until she was 35.

By changing her plea the British national could face a reported prison sentence of six years and eight months – and she may serve just half of that.

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A not-guilty plea could see her face between eight to 15 years, if found guilty.

As of yet, there are no indications that 20-year old Dungannon woman McCollum Connolly will also change her plea.

Both women were arrested in Peru last month after being caught allegedly trying to sneak out around 11kg of the illegal substance.

The girls claimed an armed gang threatened them and their families.

Although maintaining that she acted “under duress”, and that gangsters had forced her to carry the drugs, Melissa Reid told the Mail on Sunday yesterday she would be pleading guilty.

“I am really scared about what I am about to do but I am also relieved that there could be a light at the end of the tunnel,” Reid said.

“I’m now coming to terms with the fact I am so far away from my family. This is real.

“After a lot of thought and advice from my lawyer I am going to go in front of the judge and admit I was in possession of the drugs and that I went to Peru to pick up drugs to take to Spain — I am willing to plead guilty to that.”

Reid went on to describe Monaghan-born McCollum Connolly as “like a sister” to her and that they “keep each other going”.

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James Martin
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James Martin is a freelance journalist. Follow him @JamesIsMartin

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