Belfast Telegraph

Watch: Michaella McCollum reveals plans to pay back family debt with book sale profits

Drug mule Michaella McCollum appeared on ITV's Lorraine on Thursday. Credit: ITV
Drug mule Michaella McCollum appeared on ITV's Lorraine on Thursday. Credit: ITV
Sarah Tulloch

By Sarah Tulloch

Convicted drug smuggler Michaella McCollum has revealed that she plans to use profits from her new book to pay back her family after her Peruvian imprisonment put them in extreme debt.

The Dungannon woman appeared on ITV's Lorraine on Thursday morning to talk about her new book You'll Never See Daylight Again, which details her involvement in trying to smuggle 11kg of cocaine worth £1.5m out of Peru in August 2013.

Along with her Scottish accomplice Melissa Reid, she was arrested trying to fly to Spain from the South American country's capital, Lima, and later sentenced to six years and eight months in prison.

Scottish presenter Lorraine Kelly probed the 26-year-old about financially benefiting from her criminal past.

"You know that people will say that you should not be profiting from crime, so if you do make any money from the book, what are you going to do with it?" asked the presenter.

"My family have got themselves into so much debt from this whole process," revealed McCollum.

"My intentions were never money, I was never driven to make money from this, but if I do, my family would be my priority.

"I do have two small children as well and obviously if I do get a bit extra I'd like to help and give back in a way."

Speaking to host Kelly (59), McCollum admitted she "never really thought about getting arrested and going to prison and what that would do to me and my family".

In her book, McCollum writes of the trauma she put her mother through which resulted in a mini-stroke after her arrest.

Before her court appearance, her brother Keith flew from Northern Ireland to Peru to support his sister and tell her the news about their mother.

She says in the book extract: "'How is Mum?' I asked Keith. 'Does she hate me?' 'She's not been well', he replied. 'She had to go to hospital'. 'No! What's wrong?'

"'What's wrong?' he repeated, fixing me with his eyes. 'You're asking me that, Michaella? She's been so sick with worry that she had a mini-stroke'.

"I stared at him, processing the words. All the discomfort of the previous days meant nothing compared with the trauma I'd put my adored mum through.

"What kind of daughter was I? If I could have taken my own life there and then, I'd have done it."

You'll Never See Daylight Again paperback by Michaella McCollum

Belfast Telegraph Digital


From Belfast Telegraph