1. ITV Report

Convicted drug smuggler Michaella McCollum returns

Michaella McCollum, left, with co-accused Melissa Reid. Photo: UTV

Co Tyrone woman Michaella McCollum has returned to Ireland three years after her arrest in Peru for smuggling cocaine.

The 23-year-old, from Dungannon, was caught with £1.5m worth of cocaine at Lima Airport back in August 2013.

She and co-accused Melissa Reid, from Scotland, were jailed in the South American country – although Reid returned home in June.

McCollum was released on parole in March after serving two years and three months of her total sentence of six years and eight months.

She left Peru on Friday night and flew in Dublin Airport on Saturday night.

DUP MLA Lord Maurice Morrow has hit out at the publicity surrounding her return.

The focus should be on the victims of drug abuse in our society and not those who contributed to their harm.

– Lord Maurice Morrow, DUP MLA

“This is the return of a convicted criminal, yet a great deal of the publicity which appears to surround her currently resembles a minor celebrity,” Lord Morrow said.

“The harm caused by the drugs she attempted to smuggle affects communities everywhere and that should not be forgotten.

“A question which remains is whether her return will be followed by attempts to remain in the public eye, or even to profit from the notoriety she achieved with her crimes.”