Belfast Telegraph

Michaella McCollum insists: 'I was forced into posing for pictures'

By Patricia Devlin in Lima, Peru

Sunkissed snaps found on a camera belonging to Michaella McCollum and Melissa Reid were taken in Majorca — not Peru — as first thought by police.

Drugs mule Michaella, 20, said she told Peruvian authorities the images were taken on the Mediterranean isle — by members of the gang she claims held them hostage.

The former dancer and Scot say they were held on the island for four days, before being forced to travel to the South American country.

They claimed that during that time they were forced to pose as tourists, including on the balcony of a Spanish hotel.

Drug squad detectives at Lima’s Dirandro Police Station originally said the women claimed the pictures were taken in either Peru or Lima.

Officers said that was not possible — as it was winter in the South American country.

But Michaella told Sunday Life this was never the case.

“Before leaving Majorca they made us go to the beach,” she said. “In the photograph of us in bikinis you can see on the table behind us that there’s beer and a wallet — those aren’t ours. The Colombian took that picture.

“He was making us pose like tourists. I told police this.”

Police seized the digital camera, along with two Blackberry mobile phones, from the pair’s cocaine stuffed luggage at Jorge Chavez Airport in Lima in August.

The images showed the pair smiling in the sun with their arms around each other. A beach and sunbathers could be seen in the background.

Despite not being able to furnish police with much information on the exact location of where they were taken, Michaella remains critical of the police inquiry.



She said: “Why can’t they check out where in Majorca that place is? Maybe there is CCTV. But I have been told it is no good now.”

Michaella said she believes more could have been done by police to help catch the gang behind their alleged kidnap.

“I gave whatever information I could, but police never bothered to check any of the places we were able to name for CCTV,” she said.

“There was the airport in Majorca where me and Melissa met. Why couldn’t they have checked there? They (the gang) were with us.”


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