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Fugitive Belfast drug mule Lillian Allen: 'I feared I would be killed if I stayed'

Northern Ireland mum tells of her nightmare in three hell-hole prisons

By Patricia Devlin

Published 12/04/2015

Lillian Allen
Lillian Allen
prison
Lillian Allen
Lillian Allen at the Lima house she lived in before her dramatic escape
Santa Monaca Prison in Peru
micheala
Lillian Allen

Attacked four times in just six months, Lillian Allen feared she would end up DEAD if she stayed in Peru.

The 49-year-old Belfast grandmother, who was jailed in 2011 for trafficking cocaine, said she was so scared for her life in the city of Lima - where she was living on licence after being released from prison - that she rarely left the house.

"Sometimes I would go with a friend to the beach, but one day she was there on her own and a man put a gun to her head and robbed her," she said.

Lillian added: "The last time I was robbed was on January 3, I was helping my friend out with her work in a spa. And as we were getting ready to leave, a man came in through the front doors.

"He leaned across the table and said to me in Spanish, 'good night'. The next thing I knew he had his arm around my neck dragging me out the doors."

traumatised

The mother of three added: "He was trying to get my bag from me but because it was around my shoulders he couldn't get it off. He was pulling at it, and it was cutting into my neck.

"I just thought, if you want the bag so much then take it. Eventually he got it and made off on a motorbike taxi which had been waiting outside."

Now living in a quiet town an hour from Birmingham, the grandmother, who only has a knitted prison scarf to remind her of her time in Peru, says she has been left traumatised from her horrific three-year ordeal.

"I spent time in three prisons over there, each as disgusting as the last," she recalled.

"I was in Santa Monica (Chorrillos prison) for seven months and two weeks. It was an open prison built for 1,500 prisoners - but we had 3,200 prisoners in there.

"There were two of us to a mattress on the floor. You didn't know who was coming into bed with you.

"There was no hot water, one shower for 300 of us. One shower on one side of the prison and one on the other side. When you came out of the shower you had to have a curtain on your bed, because if you don't everyone is looking at your body.

"It was disgusting, but that was OK because it was an open prison, you were out from 6am to 6pm. You could walk around, have a coffee, have a sandwich."

After being transferred to Virgen de Fatima for a short period, as well as another Lima prison, Lillian was then placed on the foreigner wing of Ancon II prison - where Michaella McCollum is held..

There she slept in a rat-infested cell with four other women and was forced to work every day for her freedom.

suffer

"The British women suffer in Peru. The men don't. But the women - they suffer," said Lillian.

"Sometimes you have to depend on your friends for toilet paper, sugar, coffee - you don't eat the food because the food is disgusting."

Recalling how she once fell ill inside the hell-hole jail, Lillian said: "I took an allergy and had to be taken to hospital. I thought I was going to die actually.

"I remember coming around in the ambulance and the doctor was shoving injections into my arm.

"And when I got into the hospital they couldn't get a vein, eventually when they found out it was an allergy, they put a drip up and they left me in a corridor for 28 hours - handcuffed to the bed, while the two screws (prison officers) slept."

Warning others to learn from her horrific experience, the mother of three simply said: "Don't drug traffic. It's not worth it."

pdevlin@sundaylife.co.uk

Belfast Telegraph

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