1. ITV Report

British and Irish women held in Peru appear in court

The two women were caught in a vicious media scrum as they left public prosecutors. Photo: Reuters

Melissa Reid and Michaela McCollum, the two women arrested in Peru for allegedly attempting to smuggle drugs, appeared before prosecutors in Lima today.

It is not clear whether they have been charged. Police said they found £1.5 million worth of cocaine in the luggage as they attempted to leave Lima airport, two weeks ago.

The pair say there were forced to carry the parcels, and threatened with their lives.

Melissa's father William visited his daughter in the police station she has been detained in.

Speaking to the Daily Mail he insisted his daughter was set up. He said she told him she had a gun put to her head by Colombian gangsters who threatened her family:

I could feel the metal against my temple.

I thought they were going to kill me. They said they knew all about me and my family. I was so scared they were going to hurt them if I didn’t do as I was told.

I didn’t know they wanted me to take drugs or money or guns at that point.

The pair could face three years in custody awaiting trial and up to 25 years in jail if they are convicted.

Michaela McCollum's lawyer, Peter Madden, said both women knew as soon as they arrived at the airport that they were arousing suspicion. He said the women think they were used as a decoy for a larger shipment of drugs. Speaking before the pair were charged, he said:

When they arrived at the airport, they have told the police this, they knew that the police knew what was going on. So they were immediately arrested.

CCTV footage purporting to show Miss McCollum walking down a street in Lima emerged today. Filmed on August 5, it shows a young woman with long dark hair walking back from a pizza parlour carrying a large bag, before heading towards a hotel.

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