Glasgow & West Scotland

Peru drug charge woman Melissa Reid 'negotiating plea'

Michaella McCollum Connolly and Melissa Reid in court in Callao on 21 August 2013
Image caption Michaella McCollum and Melissa Reid appeared in court in Peru last month

One of two women arrested in Peru on suspicion of drug smuggling is negotiating a guilty plea with the authorities, her father has said.

Melissa Reid, of Lenzie, near Glasgow, and Michaella McCollum, of Dungannon in Northern Ireland, were caught with £1.5m of cocaine at Lima Airport.

Both claim they were forced into carrying the drugs.

Ms Reid's father Billy said she hoped a guilty plea would allow her to serve a reduced sentence in a UK jail.

Ms Reid was stopped, along with Ms McCollum, at Lima Airport last month as they attempted to board a flight to Spain.

Both were found to be carrying 24lb (11kg) of cocaine hidden in food packets.

'Fast-track' sentence

The women have reportedly told the Peruvian authorities they were working in Ibiza and did not meet before they were both kidnapped at gunpoint and forced to travel to Majorca.

They have claimed they were then sent to Peru and forced to carry the drugs in their luggage.

Ms Reid's father Billy told ITV's Daybreak programme that his daughter was negotiating a plea in the hope she will be sentenced to less than seven years in jail, which would allow her to be transferred to the UK to serve her time.

He said the plan is to work with the Foreign Office and other agencies to fast-track Ms Reid's return to Scotland.

Her mother, Debbie, said she speaks to her daughter every second day over the phone for 10 minutes.

"We still believe she was coerced into it, but obviously now we realise she needs to plead guilty, just to get her home basically," Mrs Reid said.

She added: "The conditions in the prison are quite basic, everything has to be paid for from toilet rolls to water so I think she is coming to realise she just wants to get home as quick as possible and this is the route she has to take to do that.

"We are a strong family, we stick together and in times like this - we have never come across anything like this before.

"We are just being strong for each other and obviously for Melissa, we have to be strong for her, which we are being."

Ms Reid and Ms McCollum are being held in Virgen de Fatima prison in the Peruvian capital Lima.

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