Fund set up to support Michaella’s family

Police escort Michaella McCollum Connolly and Melissa Reid in handcuffs as they are moved from the National Police anti-drug headquarters to a court to be formally charged for drug trafficking in Lima, Peru. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
Police escort Michaella McCollum Connolly and Melissa Reid in handcuffs as they are moved from the National Police anti-drug headquarters to a court to be formally charged for drug trafficking in Lima, Peru. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
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DUNGANNON woman Michaella McCollum Connolly has given a detailed account of how she was allegedly forced to transport cocaine.

In her statement she explains how she left home on June 24 for Ibiza. Michaella, in her account goes on to say how she met a man and was eventually forced to go to Majorca where she was introduced to Melissa.

“I was taken there (to the travel agency) by one of the five men who didn’t enter with me. They were arranging everything. We then went back to the apartment. There were guns on top of the table constantly. We didn’t talk much. Melissa and I didn’t know what was going on, we just supported each other. On July 30, Melissa would travel to Lima. We were given some clothes that we were told to wear when travelling,” Michaella states in her account.

“Once in Lima, I can’t remember who called who but I met Melissa at the check-in point and took the flight to Cusco. After speaking with Melissa, I was definitely feeling paranoid since we had both been threatened.”

She then goes on to explain how she was allegedly forced to conceal packages in her suitcase. The Dungannon woman was also asked if there had been any opportunities to inform police to which she replied:

“....we were too scared because if we told the police we would be called to testify and they had pictures of my family and a photocopy of my passport.”

Meanwhile, an appeal fund has been set up to help cover the cost of legal fees. Madden and Finucane, the law firm acting for the 20-year-old has opened a bank account to enable people to make contributions.

Miss McCollum Connolly faces up to 15 years in Virgen de Fatima prison after being charged. The pair were refused bail and could spend up to three years in prison awaiting trial.