Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 10 July 2014

'I was beaten up in Bali prison'

Rachel Dougall, from Brighton, was arrested in a sting operation by Indonesian police in May last year (AP)

A British woman jailed in Bali has said she was "beaten up" in prison and placed in intensive care for two days after she collapsed with pneumonia.

Rachel Dougall, 39, was arrested last year alongside grandmother Lindsay Sandiford, who was sentenced to death by firing squad for taking £1.6 million of cocaine on to the Indonesian island.

Dougall continued to protest her innocence as she said she was bullied by inmates, suffered a nervous breakdown and became so ill behind bars that she was left unable to breathe. The mother is still in contact with her partner Julian Ponder - serving a six-year sentence in connection with the drug smuggling operation - and said he "speaks with his little girl", from Bali.

"It was pretty grim, an eye-opener, a very scary place," she told ITV's Daybreak. "There was a lot of jealousy because the newspapers called me the 'Queen of Bali' and they just believed what they saw on the internet. I got beaten up, got very sick in there with pneumonia."

Dougall said authorities at Bali's notorious Kerobokan Prison, nicknamed Hotel K, took three months to realise she required treatment.

"I kept saying 'I'm not well, I have a chest infection'," she said, adding: "One day I collapsed and the guards had to carry me to the clinic and then I was in intensive care for 48 hours, I just couldn't breathe."

Dougall, from Brighton, was arrested in a sting operation by Indonesian police in May last year after Sandiford, from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, was found with 10.5lb of cocaine stuffed in the lining of a suitcase as she arrived in Bali. Police who raided Dougall's home found two packets of cigarettes containing cocaine - one in her handbag and one in her daughter's bedroom.

She was jailed for a year for failing to report a crime while Ponder, 43, was handed a six-year term after he was convicted of possessing drugs and fined one billion rupiah, around £65,000.

Dougall returned to Britain in May, when she was reunited with her daughter. She has always insisted she was the victim of a ''fit-up''. "I was unaware of the cocaine that was in my house," she told Daybreak. "Who in their right mind would have cocaine in their daughter's bedroom? Enough to kill them and to get 20 years in prison?"

Asked how the drugs may have arrived in the little girl's room, she replied: "My partner, he... it was his, and I didn't know anything about it."

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