An Irish priest has described two women awaiting sentencing for drug trafficking in Peru as in “brilliant” health and “very very well” after visiting the pair in prison.
Michaella McCollum, 20 and Melissa Reid, 20 were visited by Father Maurice Foley, where he said he found them sitting under a parasol in a yard in the jail drinking coffee whilst making phone calls.
“(They are) brilliant. Very, very well,” he said.
“They weren't in a cell. They were out in a wide open space sitting at a table with a parasol, they were talking and drinking coffee.
“As well as that they had telephone communication and they could use it for calling home. I thought they were in great form actually.”
The alleged drug mules have pleaded guilty to drug smuggling charges – they had hoped the behind-closed-doors admission would be enough to secure a shorter sentence.
But the pair could face a six-month investigation if their pleas are not accepted, the Peruvian prosecutor in charge of their case has said.
Juan Mendoza made the comments after the women made a second appearance before a judge at Sarita Colonia del Callao jail, in Callao, near Lima.
He did not give details of the private hearing but suggested the women's confessions had not yet satisfied prosecutors.
Mr Mendoza, speaking to The Associated Press, would not discuss whether the women had explained to them how they got the cocaine, or who it was from.
McCollum and Reid initially claimed they were kidnapped, held at gunpoint and forced to board a flight from Lima to Spain with 24lb of cocaine in food packets hidden inside their luggage when they were arrested.
The women are now waiting to be sentenced after prosecutors demanded more information before accepting their admissions of guilt.
Fr Foley said the prosecutors want the girls to hand over names and addresses of the gang who coerced them into the trafficking.
"They don't have that. All they have is the name of a cockney Englishman by the name of Jake or Joe and that's no good," he said.
"I think they just don't have that information themselves. My firm belief is that they were conned, they were backed into a compromising situation and their handlers worked on that and got them to go to customs with drugs.
"What very likely happened was that people coming behind them in the queue in the airport were the ones who walked through with the drugs."
Fr Foley said he ultimately expected a seven year sentence, which could be reduced at a later stage.
He added that when he visited them, the women were sadder and wiser for the experience.