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Drug smuggler ‘capitalising on crime’ with new book

CONVICTED drug smuggler Michaella McCollum has been accused of “capitalising on crime” by penning a new book.

Titled ‘You’ll Never See Daylight Again – My Prison Journey As One of the Infamous Peru Two’, the book is being promoted as a ‘tell-all’ story based on the Dungannon woman’s time in a Peruvian jail.

McCollum (25) and Melissa Reid from Scotland were caught trying to smuggle 11kg of cocaine worth £1.5million out of Lima in 2013. They initially claimed they had been kidnapped and forced to carry the drugs cache in food packets inside their luggage. They later admitted trying to smuggle cocaine and pleaded guilty. Faced with the prospect of up to 15 years behind bars, the pair struck a plea bargain to secure a lighter sentence and were released in 2016.

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The synopsis of the book, due for release on October 31, says it ‘tells Michaella’s amazing true story in her own words.’

McCollum, now a mother-of-two, said, “I want you all to know what truly happened to me – the trauma and near-death conditions I lived in for nearly three years.

“Some people think I got off lightly, but I hope my story will show how one bad choice turned my life upside down and if it stops just one person making the same choice, I will be happy I have shared it.”

Ciara Lloyd of Bonnier Books said, “Most people will have heard of Michaella McCollum and think they know her, but no-one really knows the true story of how she became imprisoned in one of the deadliest prisons in Peru.

“But not only did Michaella survive, she came out stronger and is finally ready to tell her story.”

However, some politicians in Tyrone have slammed the prospect of McCollum making money from that story.

UUP councillor, Walter Cuddy, said, “It is very disappointing and gives young people the impression you can get a criminal record and profit from it.”

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Independent councillor Dan Kerr suggested that if McCollum wants to show remorse she should donate any money she makes from the book to “families affected by drugs or to services dealing with the ill effects of drugs.”

Cllr Malachy Quinn believes, “There is a danger this will glamorise her crimes.”

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