Peruvian court sentences McCollum and Reid to six years and eight months in prison

Wednesday 18 December 2013 00.03
Michaella McCollum and Melissa Reid leave the court in the Sarita Colonia prison
Michaella McCollum and Melissa Reid leave the court in the Sarita Colonia prison

Tyrone woman Michaella McCollum and Melissa Reid from Scotland have been sentenced to six years and eight months in prison for drug offences in Peru.

McCollum, 20, from Dungannon, and 20-year-old Reid from Glasgow were arrested in August after 11.5kg of cocaine was found in their baggage.

The pair initially claimed they were forced to board a flight from Lima to Spain with cocaine in food packets hidden inside their luggage.

But they pleaded guilty in the hope of a reduced sentence.

The women received the minimum sentence allowable following a guilty plea.

Time will be deducted from the sentence as they have been in custody since their arrest.

The women will serve at least two years in prison in Peru, before being considered for parole or possibly extradition.

The women were sentenced by Judge Pedro Miguel Puente Bardales in what was described as a "brief process".

Judicial spokesman Daniel Vega said: "The women were very calm as the sentence was handed down at the court in the Sarita Colonia prison.

"They will now begin serving their sentence in the Santa Monica prison."

So far they have been held at the notorious Virgen de Fatima prison in Lima.

Mr Vega said it was not yet clear whether they will be able to serve part of their sentence in the UK.

He said: "The judge said that was not a decision for the court and they would have to reach an agreement with the prosecution."