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Picture of the week: Drug mule Michaella McCollum's momentous makeover

By Kerry McKittrick

Blonde-haired, red-lipped and tanned-skinned, Michaella McCollum looks remarkably well for someone who has just spent two years and three months in a Peruvian jail.

The Dungannon woman was one half of the Peru Two with Glaswegian Melissa Reid. The pair were jailed in 2013 after 11 kilos of cocaine, with a street value of £1.5m, were found in their luggage at Lima airport.

Initially, the women protested their innocence, but later changed their pleas to guilty. They claimed a drugs cartel had forced them to carry the cocaine at gunpoint and had threatened their families - part of their story that few believed.

They were sentenced to eight years and three months each in prison. Both eventually admitted that they had, in fact, willingly become drug mules.

Michaella was released from prison last week, having been granted parole. She may have to remain in Peru for the remainder of her sentence, which could be up to six years.

Her partner-in-crime, Reid, remains in prison as she awaits news of her transfer request, which would enable her to complete her sentence in Scotland.

McCollum's appearance has made headlines as much as her release. Taking part in an interview with RTE, she appeared relaxed and well-groomed, with long blonde locks. The hair doughnut that made headlines at the time of her arrest had disappeared.

She did not have the appearance of someone who had spent two years in a hell-hole (as the Peruvian prison she was held at was often described).

During her time in prison, McCollum reportedly found God and, for the rest of her time in Peru, will work for the Catholic Church, overseen by a 73-year-old priest.

Rumours abound that when the former nightclub hostess does return home, she will be hotly-tipped to appear on reality TV shows, such as Celebrity Big Brother.

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