PERU Two drugs mule Michaella McCollum has revealed she was stripped naked and told she'd never see daylight again after being caught smuggling £1.5 million worth of cocaine in 2013.
The 25-year-old served more than two years in a Peru jail after trying to leave the South American country carrying 11kg of the drug stashed in her suitcase.
Writing in her new book, You'll Never See Daylight Again, McCollum, from County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, describes the hours after she and fellow smuggler Melissa Reid were stopped in Lima Airport.
"Two women came running in and started to peel my clothes off," she says.
"I thought the walk of shame through the departures hall was as low as I could go.
"Standing there naked in an airport room took the humiliation to new depths."
The pair were questioned before being moved to a police cell.
"The cell doors were solid black metal and very heavy," says McCollum.
"It took all the guard’s strength to get one of them open.
"This was the headquarters of the Dirandro – the narcotics division of the Peruvian National Police.
"We were ushered inside.
"The second we were over the threshold, the door clanged shut and we were plunged into darkness."
'REALITY BEGAN TO SINK IN'
She describes the conditions in the tiny room where she was held, which was lit by only a small ray of light and had only cement shelves as beds.
"I don’t know how long I slept, but I woke up in the pitch black, shivering," she says.
"As my eyes adjusted, I sensed something ominous – something that was moving.
"I could hear them before I saw them: 40 or 50 cockroaches, each one two or three inches long, scurrying above my head and around my feet.
"I started screaming hysterically."
She says the "reality of [the] situation began to sink in" when she was told before her trial that she should plead guilty or risk spending the rest of her life behind bars.
She says an interrogator told her: "Judges in Peru do not like liars or people who waste their time.
"If you admit your charges there is a very good chance the judge will be lenient, as it is your first offence.
"But if you try to fight the charges and are then found guilty, which I have to say is a very real possibility, then from my experience you should be prepared to never see daylight again."
The pair pleaded guilty at trial and in December 2013 were each sentenced to six years and eight months in prison.
McCollum was released on parole in March 2016, while Reid was released the following June.
McCollum gave birth to twin boys, Rio and Raphael, in May, and now says she wants to travel the world with them.
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