1. ITV Report

Drugs mule speaks out after release from Peru prison

Michaella McCollum (left) and Melissa Reid in court in 2013. Credit: Reuters

A British woman jailed for drug smuggling in Peru, speaking for the first time following her release on parole, insisted she is a good person who made a bad decision in a "moment of madness".

Michaella McCollum, from Northern Ireland, served more than two years in South American jails after admitting to smuggling cocaine.

She was jailed in 2013 alongside Melissa Reid, from Scotland, for six years and eight months after admitting trying to smuggle cocaine worth £1.5 million from Peru to Spain.

In her first interview, for a documentary that will be aired on RTE One on Sunday night, she said: "I made a decision in a moment of madness. I'm not a bad person. I want to demonstrate that I'm a good person."

Michaella McCollum pictured during her first interview with the Irish broadcaster RTE

She acknowledged the potentially devastating consequences if she had successfully smuggled the drugs back to Europe.

Michaella McCollum arriving in court at Sarita Colonia prison in Callao in December, 2013. Credit: Reuters

"I probably would have had a lot of blood on my hands," she said.

"I potentially could have filled Europe full of a lot of drugs. I could have potentially killed a lot of people, not directly but I could have caused a lot of harm to people," she added.

The Co Tyrone woman was freed under new legislation on early prison release introduced in Peru last year.

She had served two years and three months.

I've forgotten the things that everybody takes for granted in life.

Seeing the sun, seeing the darkness, seeing the moon and the stars, things I haven't seen in almost three years.

– Michaella McCollum

It is anticipated she will have to remain in Peru for a considerable period as part of her parole conditions.

Reid remains in prison in Peru and has been seeking to serve the remainder of her sentence closer to her home in Scotland.

The pair were caught with 24lb (11kg) of cocaine in food packets hidden inside their luggage at Lima airport on August 6 2013 attempting to fly to Spain.

They had initially claimed they were forced into carrying the drugs but pleaded guilty to charges later that year.

McCollum and Reid faced the prospect of a maximum 15-year prison term but struck a behind-closed-doors plea bargain to secure a shorter sentence.

They had previously been held at Lima's Virgen de Fatima prison but were moved to the Ancon 2 prison, where McCollum was reportedly crammed into a cell with 30 other prisoners with poor sanitation and toilet facilities.